Woodford Reserve Rye

I just got an allocation of the Woodford Reserve New Cask & Aged Cask Ryes in today. I’m a huge fan of rye, so while the price point on these is pretty steep, I figured I’d buy a set (it comes in pairs of 375ml bottles, in a fancy little box) just to try it. FWIW, I could only get one set – apparently this stuff is in major demand.

Both bottles contain the same spirit: triple distilled, 100% rye. However, one was aged in a new charred American oak cask, while the other was aged in a previously used cask. The first difference you’ll notice is the color; the New Cask rye is a deep caramel, while the Aged Cask rye is a much lighter straw color.

Woodford describes these as “grain forward” (Aged Cask) and “barrel forward” (New Cask), which is pretty accurate. I personally prefer the New Cask Rye, but here are my tasting notes on them… both very interesting.

Woodford Reserve Aged Cask Rye
Aroma: Delicate, slightly grassy, lightly citrus and very subtle vanilla.
Taste: Green & black pepper, tastes young (duh), very light vanilla, clean finish.

Woodford Reserve New Cask Rye
Aroma: Wow. Shit tons of oak, cinnamon, caramel, vanilla on the nose.
Taste: Soft pepper and tons of nuttiness on the palate. Much fuller bodied than the Aged, with a slightly sweet finish.

Overall, these are both excellent, and a very fun experiment in aging, if you consider rye fun, which I do.  Personally, I prefer a “rye” that doesn’t have a 100% rye mash bill – Rittenhouse, Wild Turkey – where the pepper and snap from the rye is cut with sweetness of a corn, and which I generally find have a greater depth of flavor. Having said that, I’ll fuck up some Bulleit rye, which has a 95% rye mash bill.

Either way, I’m not going to use these in a drink, as they are way too expensive, but we’ll have them on hand at the bar if you want to try them.

Posted on January 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm
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4 Responses to Woodford Reserve Rye

David says:

Good and helpful review! Thanks!

January 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Reply

Phil says:

We have been wanting to try your place. This is a great impetus to get our asses out there.

January 19, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Reply

Ryan says:

I just got these as a gift and they are DELICIOUS! Smiling ear to ear.

February 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply

Joe Longo says:

i just bought this set and look forward to tasting this Woodford Reserve Masters Collection Rye. Woodford Reserve is one of my favorite bourbons. Rye hasn’t been something I’ve tasted in quite awhile but know back in the day while stationed in the UP of Michigan the Canadians do have some great rye bourbons. Bottom line for me is Woodford Reserve produces a great product and worth the purchase just to experiment tasting this special rye. Cheers!

June 12, 2015 at 10:18 am | Reply

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