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.