By April Manning
Woodford Reserve Toasted Oak Rye is second in a trio of ryes from Woodford Reserve’s Distillery Series slated to be released throughout 2017. According to Master Distiller Chris Morris, this series is about flavor innovation and is “sure to impress whiskey aficionados” by emphasizing Woodford Reserve’s creative line of involved tastes that shows the brand’s platform of commitment to innovation and premium craftsmanship.
The two rye whiskey profiles were blended together for this series expression that began its journey in 2004. This is when the original rye mash distillate was created for the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Aged Cask Rye. Limited, select quantities of this rye were allowed to continue aging. It was then blended with the last barrels of Distiller’s Select Straight Rye to concoct this limited, distinctive profile.
For the Woodford Reserve Toasted Oak Rye the next stop on the journey was to be re-barreled in new Woodford Reserve Double Oaked barrels for another two years to give it the toasted oak essence.
The first feature I noticed in the Woodford Reserve Toasted Oak Rye is pleasant enough. To the eye it has a golden hue that sparkles with light yellow highlights. However, it seems to be a cloudy spirit and would never settle in my glass to grant a clear view.
The second aspect comes drifting up innocently to the nose with a slight astringency (this is alcohol, after all) that dissolves into a friendly smoky scent along with the familiar aromas of vanilla and caramel. There is also a citrus bit playing in the background.
So far, so good.
There is a slight burning sensation that accompanies the tasting of this rye. As for the flavor, it does have the vanilla sweetness with the rye spiciness and you can find the citrus that was hiding in the background, and these are all pros.
However, there is a distinct fume-like aftertaste that reminds one of plastic. Think chewing on a cheap band-aid aftertaste. This unpleasant sensation is very unexpected after all the pros and the care that went into the creation process. Perhaps it would be a good mixer, but I did not have the plucks to try that yet.
This is a distillery-only release, so you will be very lucky indeed to see it outside of the Woodford Reserve gift shop. It retails for $50 for a 375 ml bottle.