Recently we had the opportunity to taste the brand new Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey with the man who made it: Master Distiller, Chris Morris. In introducing the rye, Morris noted that he’s not actually a rye whiskey fan. He’s a bourbon guy, through and through. So he decided that if he’s going to make rye, it’s going to be one that he likes personally. One that’s easy to drink.
To accomplish that, he started with the same three ingredients that go into Woodford Reserve Bourbon: corn, rye and barley. The age, the proof and the barrels are the same, too. But here they’ve changed the mashbill, upping the rye from a modest 18% to a less modest 53% of the grain makeup. But for comparison sake, many ryes on the market use upwards of 90% rye in their mashbill. For Woodford, that means a spicier, more rye-forward whiskey, but one that’s still soft and approachable, whether sipping neat or mixing into cocktails.
So how does it taste? On the nose, Woodford Reserve Rye is slightly spicy, with notes of rye grains, black pepper and cloves, as well as fruity notes of pears and apples. Things sweeten a bit on the palate with honey, vanilla and cinnamon–a real bakeshop of flavors–plus hints of ginger and caramel. The long finish is balanced between sweet vanilla, spices and some dry oak.
This is a good, straightforward whiskey that’s a lesson in restraint. Chris Morris and Woodford set out to create an easy-drinking rye, and that’s exactly what we have here.
– 45.2% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★★