Monday, February 1, 2021

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye


VITALS:
- $35
- 90.4 proof
- NAS
- Batch 009
- Kentucky

It seems a bit odd that I've reviewed as many different whiskeys as I have, but that I've never reviewed the Woodford Reserve Rye. I love rye, and I tend to drink a lot of it.  In fact, I've had Woodford Reserve Rye many times over the years. Granted, most of the time it's in a cocktail, but nonetheless, it's not a whiskey I'm unfamiliar with. But I've just never had a bottle to myself, one that I could finish and eventually write one of these reviews. At least until now.

Luckily for me, I didn't have to worry about always finding something better to buy. Rather, this bottle came to me, free of charge, as a gift from my father-in-law. While he may have had more selfish reasons for leaving this bottle at my house, it nonetheless became mine and I got to drink it, which is what matter most. So, while this seems like a big gap as far as whiskeys that I haven't yet reviewed are concerns, at least this one gap is now getting filled.

I got a lot of the traditional rye notes on the nose, with a light pine note paired with a healthy amount of brown sugar. It also had a light cinnamon, but not in a spicy way. More like in a cinnamon roll way. In fact, it smelled sweet, almost like a wheated bourbon. However, it also had a certain musty quality to the nose that tended to turn me off -- kind of like a damp basement smell.

I thought it had a sweet nose, and the palate was even sweeter. I still got a lot of the brown sugar that I was getting form the nose. However, I also got a healthy amount of maple syrup. It tasted a bit like the gooey middle of a pecan pie.

It did have a light oak quality to it, to help offset the sweetness a touch, but even that seemed almost on the sweeter side. It also had that same cinnamon note I got on the nose, once again not really adding any spice, just that cinnamon flavor. There was also a good amount of bread notes. I was reminded of a honey wheat bread.

The maple syrup seemed to stick around the most on the finish. Some of oak stuck around as well, and on the finish actually added that bit of dryness that was missing everywhere else. 

Overall, it's a flavor I've known, I just never got my own bottle, and this is probably why. It's just not what I look for in a rye whiskey. When I reach for a rye, I want something that's going to give me some spice, and this simply had none. Rather, it was just a sweet whiskey, and often it proved to be too sweet for my tastes. That said, I do feel like I now need to go and grab all those other "mainstay" whiskeys on the shelves that I just haven't gotten around to buying and reviewing. Perhaps it's time to start filling in those gaps.

Grade: C+

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