Woodford Reserve Distillery (or if you want to be technical slash call it by a shittier name) the Brown-Foreman Distillery basically puts out a unique whiskey every year under the Woodford Reserve Special Edition Label. In November of 2014, they went with a bold take on whiskey: to mix it with some wine. In theory it sounds great- the wine and whiskey communities overlap in tons of ways. Both care about aging, both care deeply about the ingredients and where they’re from, and whiskey and wine fans alike can appreciate subtleties and taste notes. So what they did was take the full strength, fully matured Woodford Reserve and age it in Pinot Noir wine barrels for another 10 months. The end result was about 30,000 bottles of 90-proof whiskey-wine. Needless to say, we were very intrigued and needed to give it a good ol’ review.
I gotta be honest here. Have you ever gotten one of those weird colds/flus in the summer? Where you maybe had to drink some cherry cough syrup to get rid of the cough, and then walked outside in the heat because since you’re already sick, you might as well make it a party with some more cough syrup. Only issue there is you begin to stink like weird sweaty cherry? That’s oddly what this whiskey smells like when you pour it in a glass. And everyone knows that your taste is directly connected to your smell. So the beginning experience of drinking this stuff isn’t great. Then the overall taste of this bourbon is legitimately just a mixture of shitty wine and weird whiskey. The combination of both takes away from both- it neither tastes like good wine or like good whiskey. You know those weird kids back in middle school who loved to mix sodas together from the soda machine? They’d come back to your table with a mixture of Mountain Dew and Cherry Coke and tell you it was amazing- except when you tried it it tasted like piss? It’s a little harsher of an example but that’s not far off from this flavor. And from Woodford, I was shocked.
How to Drink It
The more I think about it, I might have just been missing the bigger picture. Didn’t see the trees through the forest. The best way to drink this whiskey is to save it for when you’re sick. How did people back in the 40’s stave off the plague? They didn’t. But how do people in 2017 stave off a cold? You drink some cherry flavored whiskey/wine/cough syrup and go about your life. I think I just convinced myself that this shit is amazing, it’s just severely mismarketed. This shouldn’t be in packies. This should be in CVS’s across the country.
There are some things in life that need to be separated. I guess whiskey and wine are one of them. What’s the obsession with using whiskey barrels for beer and wine barrels for whiskey? Can we all just use our own shit? I have yet to taste a bourbon-beer or a whiskey-wine that doesn’t suck. Really thought Woodford would be the people to pull it off, but this just flat out misses the mark. Unless you’re sick, in which case it creates a nice double jeopardy situation for you where you’re sick, add in gross whiskey, two rights make a left, you’re healthy again.