Woodford Reserve and the Kentucky Derby go together like mint and julep.
And a right of passage every spring for whiskey enthusiasts is the hunt for the special whiskey bottle adorned with the art of the Kentucky Derby, known as the “greatest two minutes in sports.”
Plans are set for the 2022 Kentucky Derby, and Woodford Reserve recently announced their special release in honor of the big event.
This year’s commemorative Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby Bourbon bottle features the artwork of Kentucky native Jaime Corum, an equine artist known for her stunning horse portraits..
Her painting, titled “Dreams in Bloom,” features three thoroughbreds racing neck-and-neck, surrounded by a spray of vivid spring flowers, including the iconic red roses of the Derby.
Jaime visited with The Whiskey Wash ahead of the big race to talk about all things Derby, Woodford, and more.
The Whiskey Wash: Tell us just how central is the Kentucky Derby to the equine world?
Jaime Corum: “In terms of the horse racing world, it is the pinnacle event, known worldwide, and it’s the one race I believe every racehorse trainer, owner, breeder and dreamer would say they would love to win. The Kentucky Derby’s long history gives it almost a mythical quality, having been run since 1875. We all grew up with the excitement of Derby season. Every horse racing fan gets Derby Fever. And the parties and celebration around Derby also bring in new fans to the racing and equine world every year, creating a whole new generation of thoroughbred racing fans.”
TWW: Having your art adorn a Woodford Reserve Derby bottle, what does that mean to someone so close to the horse racing community?
Jaime: “It is an absolute dream project. I am a total fan-girl of both racing and bourbon culture, and I love the pride in place that these things bring me in my home state of Kentucky. Being invited to help celebrate the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby with the new Woodford Reserve Derby bottle label is truly a dream come true.”
TWW: As a native Kentuckian, where do you feel whiskey fits into the equine industry and culture in general?
Jaime: “Kentucky’s equine culture is full of rich tradition and history just like Kentucky bourbon. They are both Kentucky ‘products’ that bring such pride and joy to my home state. And of course, horses, horse racing, and bourbon have long been enjoyed in combination. What could be better than sipping a Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned (my bourbon cocktail of choice) at Churchill Downs or Keeneland, watching the best racing in the world?”
TWW: Is there anything more traditional during the Derby than a mint julep?
Jaime: “The Mint Julep truly is the symbolic drink of Derby and Derby season. It is visually so beautiful with all that fresh green mint in the classic silver glass and it speaks to the long tradition of Derby. I love those things that stand the test of time and never change.”
TWW: How important is the integration of Woodford and the Derby to the brand’s whiskey heritage?
Jaime: “It is a perfect partnership! Both are two of Kentucky’s finest and go so well together, so it’s a match made in heaven. Woodford Reserve will be as much a symbol of the Kentucky Derby as the Mint Julep has been.”
TWW: Tell us more about the partnership with Williams-Sonoma and the Woodford Spire?
Jaime: “Talk about the collectibility of the Woodford Derby bottle every year and the enthusiasts that take part.
The excitement generated by this year’s bottle that I’ve experienced personally has simply blown me away. I knew the series was a popular collector’s item, but I truly had no idea just how many people wait for the new bottle every year and collect the Woodford Derby series religiously.
Kentuckians especially see it as a symbol of the new Derby Season and a great reason to start the Derby celebrations early.
I have people who I barely know coming up to me to say congratulations on your Woodford bottle. Posting about it nearly blew up my Facebook page. People are SERIOUS about their bourbon collections and Woodford Reserve’s Derby series is a must have.”
TWW: What is the secret to a great mint julep?
Jaime: “Woodford Reserve, of course! And also crushed ice in a silver cup, that just makes it a real mint julep. I’ve also tried steeping fresh mint in the simple syrup (as well as adding the muddled fresh mint). Mint flavored simple syrup gives it an extra flavor kick.”
Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether...