Whiskey Review: Woodford Reserve Blended Rye - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Woodford Reserve Blended Rye

Woodford Reserve, along with their standard bourbon and rye expressions and their yearly, rotating Master’s Collection whiskeys (the most recent of which I got the chance to try this past November), also produces an eclectic line of limited-release expressions called the Distillery Series. These range from a four-malt whiskey, to several experiments in barrel type, to a “sweet mash bourbon” made—as the name suggests—with a non-soured mash.

These expressions are a fun departure from the usual big-name American distillery fare, and a nod in the direction of a growing taste for experimentation on the part of the average whiskey drinker, fostered by the craft distillery boom. There’s nothing here that’s quite as freaky as what we get from places like St. George or Corsair, but they’re proof that even within the constraints of non-freakiness, there’s plenty of room for growth.

Woodford Reserve Blended Rye is a blend of two rye whiskeys: One a 100%-rye expression aged in used bourbon barrels, the other a 53% rye, 33% corn, 14% malt straight rye whiskey aged, in the traditional fashion, in new barrels. The 100% rye expression seems, based on a press release, to have been aged 13 years, but it’s not clear how old the straight rye is. There’s no word on how much of each whiskey went into the blend.

Woodford Reserve Blended Rye

Tasting Notes: Woodford Reserve Blended Rye

Vital stats: Two mashbills, one 53% rye, 33% corn, 14% malted barley, the other 100% rye, in undisclosed proportions. No age statement (but see above). Bottled at 90.4 proof. Available only at the distillery and “select Kentucky retailers.”

Color: Amber

Nose: Cooked and dried fruit predominates here, evoking pears cooked in sweet sherry, or an apple pie with raisins. There’s a major, faintly dusty wood note here, too: picture those desserts on an unfinished pine plank in a wood shop.

Palate: More orchard fruit, together with some black pepper and allspice, and some honey sweetness. The dusty wood/cardboard note is here, too, but it’s softer. Medium-bodied, with a long, pleasant finish heavy on spice, with more wood coming through after a moment.

The Takeaway

Summary

This is an elegant, well-executed rye that's plenty sippable on its own, but would be lovely paired with a fruit dessert. It definitely leans into fruit, and while it's got plenty of spice, it's not hot or peppery, and sits easily on the palate. This is an intriguing, off-the-beaten-path expression from Woodford Reserve, definitely worth trying if you can get your hands on it.

4.0
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