Brown-Forman’s already fine Woodford Reserve bourbon just got better with an upscale big brother. The Louisville company on Monday officially launched their first permanent addition to the Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select product line with the new Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon.
This new product polishes the Woodford Reserve bourbon by taking that aged bourbon and sending it to finishing school – a special oak barrel toasted and then ever so slightly charred.
The end result is a high-end bourbon pushing the $50 price range. You can taste the difference.
There are two key points to note “toasted” and “slightly charred.” The barrels used for the second aging are toasted with some very minimal flame. Then, to maintain the continuity of a bourbon product, the barrel is charred for about five seconds. For bourbon to be bourbon, it must be aged in “charred” new oak barrels.
Picture toasting a marshmallow – holding it far from the flame so it gets just a slight tan, as opposed to that black crusty finish when you hold it in the flame.
“It’s a bourbon barrel in name only,” Master Distiller Chris Morris said of the charring of the second aging barrel.
The same Woodford Reserve you’ve known since 1996 when it was launched, is sealed into this toasted barrel to age another six to 12 months.
Why the toasting? Chris Morris said it is a similar process as the production of cognac or a chardonay. The toasting releases the character of the oak without adding the aggressive flavors of a heavily charred oak. It is the result of a lot of testing and experimenting, he said.
The result is a velvety smooth product with much more complexity than the original Woodford Reserve. There are obvious creamy vanilla and honey apple. It does finish with some of the familiar Woodford’s spice.
Look for this new bourbon in early March. I’ll have some more thoughts on Woodford Reserve Double Oaked tomorrow.