Categories
Bourbon Reviews Woodford

Woodford Reserve Review

Verdict: Will not disappoint

image

Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select has always been one of my favorites. This is straight-up good bourbon and worth every penny. I know the price is not completely outrageous, but a lot of folks opt for a more economical bourbon like Jack or Jim as an every day drink. I suggest to go ahead and splurge on this one every now and again. It doesn’t stray off the path too much, but it’s a good bit smoother so I don’t think you will be disappointed.

The smell of Woodford is fairly sweet with a good oaky bouquet and a bit of barrel char. It’s not overly sweet, but maybe comes in a little syrupy for some. It has a good balance of honey and brown sugar flavors. I don’t get a big burn, but it does have a nice soft, long finish.

It may be noted that the age is not listed on the bottle and every bottle is numbered with a batch/bottle number. Based on US law any bourbon that is aged less than four years has to have an age statement, so any Woodford bottle that you may get is at least four years old.

For me Woodford has a very drinkable quality. It’s fairly easy to find and I often choose it as my default. It may be a bit pricey as a highball, but a great treat over ice or neat. Enjoy!

Categories
Bourbon Reviews Old Forester

Old Forester Classic 86 Proof

Verdict: Good value for the money

image

Old Forester, like all great brands, has an interesting history. It has been on the market since 1873 and is touted as the longest continuously marketed bourbon. During Prohibition (1920 – 1933) it was one of the 10 brands that could legally produce liquor (for medicinal purposes only, of course). It was also the first bourbon to come in a bottle. Before that bourbon was delivered in barrels and served from decanters.

I tried Old Forester at my friend’s man cave last night. It was the only bourbon he had and the garage (complete with a replica “leg lamp” from A Christmas Story) was a perfect venue for our mission.

It was a really hot night so we decided that adding a few ice cubes was appropriate. The bourbon itself had a good color and medium body. The taste was very subtle – not too sharp and not a lot of sweetness. You get a hint of oak and some interesting spices, but the flavors are really delicate. Although I typically like a bit more sweetness in my bourbons, the ice cubes mellowed the flavor after a few minutes which made it very drinkable.

The bottle design was apparently updated recently and, although this version is more contemporary than the previous, it doesn’t knock me over. I would love to see the labeling simplified.

All and all, I would consider Old Forester a good basic bourbon. It’s a great value for the money and it would be a fine choice for a casual cocktail or a hot night in the garage.

Categories
Bourbon Reviews Maker's Mark Distillery Small Batch Bourbon

Maker’s 46 Bourbon

Taste: Smooth with big oak flavor, hints of vanilla
Verdict: Excellent.

image

I’ve seen Maker’s 46 in the store for a while, but this is the first time I’ve tried it. Maker’s Mark came out with it about a year ago as the first new bourbon from the distillery in over 50 years. I guess it was a bit of a risk for the overall brand, but they wisely played it safe and produced a bourbon that is consistent with the original, if not a bit better.

The process of making the 46 was basically the same as the original Marker’s but with a twist: After aging the bourbon to maturity, they insert toasted French oak staves into the barrels for an few extra months. In addition to the added aging, the toasting of the staves adds a bit more caramel to the taste. You get the same deep, consistent flavor of Maker’s with some interesting vanilla, honey, and orange spices, a smooth finish, and no bitterness.

From a packaging perspective, the bottle itself is unique and stands out on the shelf somewhat. The minimalist labeling allows you to see the rich color of the bourbon and tends to make my mouth water. The wax seal and cork stopper are a nice acknowledgment to the Maker’s Mark signature.

I personally like the original Marker’s Mark, so Maker’s 46 suits my taste and I would definitely buy it again. It would be very good in a mint julep or a Manhattan (I’ll report back on both of those when I get a chance), but I would suggest trying it neat or with an ice cube first.

There were only 25,000 bottles produced in the first run and my local store only had two on the shelf. I’m not sure if more has been shipped yet, so make sure you grab some when you see it.

– – – – – – – –

UPDATE: Two people asked me what the 46 meant, so I did some research – apparently this is the product number of the oak staves they use.