Before you roll those eyes and cringe at the $2,000 price tag on the latest finished bourbon release by Woodford Reserve, just take a minute to hear me out about why it’s such a hefty chunk of change.
First of all, before we even get to the juice inside, this is the first American whiskey to be bottled in a pristine Baccarat crystal bottle.
For those of you who don’t travel on your own private jet or rub elbows with the housewives of Beverly Hills, Baccarat is a market-leading designer, manufacturer and retailer of luxury crystal products. Based in Paris, the company dates back to 1764.
The fancy decanter — which takes a crystal artist about five days to make — is engraved with both Woodford and Baccarat, and it comes with a fancy crystal stopper. So the idea is that you’d keep this bottle in your collection even after you’ve drank all the precious whiskey inside.
And speaking of whiskey, let’s dip our toes into the details.
The Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition takes fully mature Woodford Reserve bourbon and finishes it for an additional three years in high-end XO cognac casks from France.
Cognac barrels are much larger than bourbon barrels, and they’re toasted, not charred, like our oak barrels. Woodford isn’t the first company to finish whiskey in cognac barrels, but, as Master Distiller Chris Morris pointed out Monday afternoon during a virtual press conference, there is a distinct cognac note found in Woodford Reserve bourbon that made it a natural partnership.
Morris added that Woodford has been experimenting with finished bourbons for quite some time now, dating back to 2007 with a chardonnay finish. The goal of finishing his bourbon, he said, is to both highlight and intensify the flavors already found in Woodford Reserve.
“If you can’t taste Woodford in the finish, it’s not something we’re going to release,” he noted.
Morris said Woodford, which is owned by Brown-Forman, secured several brands of cognac barrels for the project, which will continue to be released yearly in a limited amount.
Many of these $2,000 bottles can be found in the duty-free shops inside airports or at high-end bars, most likely sitting next to even more expensive bottles of scotch, brandy, cognac, etc.
The 2020 limited release has about 2,000 bottles for the U.S. market, which came from 16 casks.
Those of us in Monday’s press conference were given a sample of Woodford Baccarat and led through a tasting with Master Taster Elizabeth McCall. From first sniff to the long finish, you could tell this was interesting stuff.
It’s fruit and spice forward, with notes of red apples, vanilla and baking spices waltzing around your tastebuds. There is a hint of dark chocolate, and on the finish you get orange peel, spice and a drizzle of honey.
It’s creamy, and it’s quite dreamy.
But would I shell out $2,000 for it? Seeing that I don’t have a full-time job at the moment nor do I DM with Erika Jayne, that’s a definite no.
Maybe I’ll win the lottery someday. You gotta have goals.