Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey crafted in small batches at The Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky. The former name of the distillery, Labrot & Graham, adorns the flask-style bottle as well. Checking into that former name, I found that even before that, the distillery was called Old Oscar Pepper Distillery. The distillery is now owned by Brown-Forman. Anyway, rich tradition.
There is a little story on the side of the bottle that lets you know that the distillery, founded in 1812, is a National Historic Landmark, which I find very cool. Nowadays, Woodford Reserve has the distinction of being the Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, releasing a limited edition bottle each year to commemorate the event. This year, Artist Michael Schwab did the honors. Woodford Reserve also sponsors a race on Derby Day, the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic.
My personal experience with this Bourbon happened at a Bourbon Class at my local Total Wine not that long ago. We learned that this is the oldest yet smallest distillery in Kentucky. Woodford Reserve also triple-distills this Bourbon, one more time than the standard amount. Finally, the class suggested that the distillery does some experimental things, especially when finishing their Bourbons. For example, finishing in wine barrels. Total Wine sells a 750 mL bottle of this for around $30, a total deal for a small batch craft Bourbon. Batch 93. Bottle Number 02628. 45.2% alcohol (90.4 proof).
Distinct cherry aroma. Vanilla and wood come next, accompanied by a good dose of spiciness. Sweet corn and honey soothe the nose, complex and welcoming scents.
The taste is even better than the nose led me to expect! Sweet honey and corn open, accented beautifully with some spicy cinnamon and rye. There are also some smoky characteristics to this Bourbon. Oak is noticeable; vanilla flavors build and build throughout.
Very smooth, not harsh at all. However, that's not to say this isn't packing a punch with some solid heat all the way down through the chest. Each sip coats the entire palate. The finish is long and dry and very enjoyable. No doubt, this is the spirit that will make you switch.