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Cigar Spirits: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked

21 May 2012

Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select bourbon has been on the market for 15 years. It is known for having a relatively high percentage of rye in its recipe, as well as for having very little sour in each batch to enable the mash to remain crisp.

This spring, Woodford Reserve released its Double Oaked expression. Like Distiller’s Select, it is made at the Woodford Reserve Distillery, a National Historic Landmark that dates back to 1812 when it was called the Labrot & Graham Distillery. The operation is credited with improving such vital bourbon processes as sour-mash fermentation, pot still distillation, and barrel maturation.

Double Oaked is essentially the same bourbon as Distiller’s Select. But after Distiller’s Select is fermented, distilled, and aged in new, charred, white oak barrels, the bourbon that’s designated for Double Oaked bottles is re-barreled in heavily toasted oak barrels at 110-proof for another 6-12 moths—essentially doubling the spirit’s exposure to oak. The final product is 90.4-proof.

“The re-barreling of mature Woodford Reserve…allows the spirit to extract an additional amount of soft, sweet oak character without the aggressive charred notes obtained from typical bourbon barrels,” says Chris Morris, Woodford Reserve’s master distiller. “This unique practice has created bourbon that is rich in honey, chocolate, marzipan, and spiced apple character.”

Double Oaked is a dark amber in the bottle and slightly lighter in the glass. Its aroma is oaky and buttery with faint cinnamon and brown sugar. Once sipped, the flavor reminds me of dry wood, vanilla, apple, candied walnuts, and honey. The complexity is more pronounced than Distiller’s Select, and the smoothness and drinkability of the spirit makes it easy to appreciate the nuances of the taste.

Double Oaked would no doubt be a treat for any cigar/bourbon enthusiast, especially since the flavor pairs so well with a balanced yet full-bodied cigar like the Tesa 312. For me, though, it will have to be an occasional indulgence because the price is often $50 or more per bottle. In fact, the bottle I purchased for this review cost me $66 here in Chicago.

If you’re looking for an everyday bourbon, I’d recommend Distiller’s Select or one of the many other fine bourbons that are available for around $30. If you’re looking for something special, though, Double Oaked is a fine choice that won’t disappoint.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

2 Responses to “Cigar Spirits: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked”

  1. Francisi Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    I had a chance to try this and it is a fine spirit indeed. Expensive, but very fine… especially with a medium-bodied smoke.

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