Woodford Reserve Simply Dropped Considered one of Its Strongest Bourbons But
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Woodford Reserve is a bourbon brand not typically known for releasing extremely high-ABV, barrel-proof whiskey. But every year since 2018 Woodford has released its limited-edition Batch Proof bourbon, and the 2023 release is one of the strongest in this series.
Batch Proof is basically regular Woodford Reserve (same mash bill and production process) that has been bottled at the proof it comes out of the barrel without the typical dilution that, in Woodford’s case, brings the whiskey down to 90.4 proof. “Barrel proof” or “cask strength” are the terms typically used for this, but “batch proof” essentially means the same thing—a batch of barrels that are blended together at the strength at which it’s dumped (or very close to it—according to the TTB, the proof can be up to two degrees lower than what it is in the barrel). Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, for example, comes out in a few batches per year so that could also be called a batch proof bourbon if the brand wanted to.
Woodford Reserve 2023 Batch Proof was bottled at 124.7 proof, which is fairly high and gets into the territory in which Booker’s Bourbon usually lives, while not as high as some of those previously mentioned Elijah Craig releases. Master distiller Elizabeth McCall was the woman in charge of this release—as we reported, she took over from now master distiller emeritus Chris Morris last winter. “The trademark flavors of Woodford Reserve are even more pronounced–and more bold–in this celebrated annual release,” she said in a statement. “It’s a high-proof bourbon with complex flavors.” That’s a little vague, but the official tasting notes describe a nose of toasted almond, cherry, and banana; baking spice and pine on the palate; and a tannic and sweet finish of leather, vanilla, and cedar.
While the core Woodford Reserve is considered to be a pretty dependable option in the world of bourbon, there are a few other special releases throughout the year. The most notable comes in the form of the Distillery Reserve Series, which has included whiskeys like Toasted Oak Oat Grain and Chocolate Malt, and the Master’s Collection which counted Historic Barrel Entry as its last release. 2023 Batch Proof is a limited release (SRP $130) that is available starting today at the distillery. But you can shop the rest of the collection, from Double Oaked to the high-end Baccarat release, at websites like ReserveBar.
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Source: Robb Report