Conduct Your Own At-Home Tasting of Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Conduct Your Own At-Home Tasting of Woodford Reserve Bourbon

There are over 200 delectable flavors in Woodford Reserve craft bourbon. A variety of food samples will be tasted in the next steps. By comparing the flavor notes of the samples with the Woodford Reserve Flavor Wheel, the subtle flavor cues in Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon can be experienced.

What You’ll Need

Food Samples:

aged parmesan icon

Aged Parmesan

toasted hazelnut icon

Toasted Hazelnut

dried cranberry icon

Dried Cranberry

orange slice icon

Orange Slice

dark chocolate icon

Dark Chocolate

sorghum syrup icon

Sorghum Syrup

Food samples positioned in a clockwise pattern on a small plate.

Arrange the food samples clockwise on a small plate. Conduct the sampling of each in the order indicated below with each followed by a sip of Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon. After each, rinse the palate with a sip of water before the next sample.

How to Conduct a Proper Tasting

fork and knife icon

Step 1

Chew the food sample and breathe through your nose to take in the full breath of the flavors.

water drop icon

Step 2

Take a sip of the Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select Bourbon.

glass with water icon

Step 3

Cleanse your palate with a sip of cool or room temperature water.

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Step 4

Observe a conversational pause before moving on to the next sample.

The Tasting

A flavor wheel showcasing the unique flavor breakdowns of each Woodford Reserve expression.

The tasting includes six specific food pairings that will accentuate certain characteristics of Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon. Aged parmesan cheese, toasted hazelnut, dried cranberry, orange wedge, high-grade dark chocolate and a small scoop of sorghum syrup. The samples all have individual flavor properties that will excite the palate and bring out the subtleties of Woodford Reserve.

Aged Cheese

Sample 1 – Cheese

Begin the tasting with a piece of aged parmesan cheese. An olive may be substituted if cheese is unavailable.

The high fat content in the cheese coats the mouth and highlights the woody and nutty characteristics presented by Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon’s unique maturation process. You may taste pecan, almond, or a hint of oak.

Flavor Category: Wood
Brings Out: Pecan & Other Nutty Flavors

Sample 2 – Hazelnut

Next up is the toasted hazelnut pairing. A toasted pecan, cashew, or Brazil nut could act as a substitute.

The tannic acid in the nut highlights the contributions of the toasted oak that is carefully selected when producing Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon barrels. This may bring to mind the wood, nut and pecan flavors of Woodford Reserve.

Flavor Category: Wood
Brings Out: Wood, Nut & Pecan



Sample 3 – Cranberry

Our third pairing is with a dried cranberry.

The tart cranberry ignites the fruit and floral aromas in the olfactory system. These notes come from Woodford Reserve’s yeast strain and extra-long six-day fermentation process. A sip after this pairing should bring out cherry, blackberry and cooked peach flavors.

Flavor Categories: Fruit & Floral
Brings Out: Cherry, Blackberry & Cooked Peach

Sample 4 – Orange

Now move onto a sampling of a fresh orange slice.

The essential oils in the orange express the citrus characters that can be detected in Woodford Reserve. Bourbon that is triple distilled in copper pot stills and fermented with an extra-long six-day process contributes to the fragrant notes of orange, lemon, or peach.

Flavor Categories: Fruit & Floral
Brings Out: Orange, Lemon & Peach



Sample 5 – Chocolate

A small piece of dark chocolate is the guest in this pairing.

The dark chocolate highlights the spice flavors in Woodford Reserve, which come from the mash bill, extra-long fermentation process and handcrafted barrels used to mature the whiskey. The rich dark chocolate can bring out notes of chocolate, coffee, clove and tobacco leaf.

Flavor Categories: Aromatics & Spice
Brings Out: Chocolate, Coffee, Clove & Tobacco Leaf

Sample 6 – Sorghum Syrup

The final step is sorghum syrup. Maple syrup can be substituted if needed.

The sorghum syrup brings out sweet aroma characteristics found in Woodford Reserve. The grassy notes in the finish stem from the corn, rye and malted barley grain recipe. You may also taste caramel and honey notes. This is the only sample that brings out the grain section.

Flavor Categories: Aromatics & Grain
Brings Out: Caramel, Honey & Grass

Sorgum Syrup

You have completed the Woodford Reserve Tasting! It is an experience for your senses, each sample bringing out a unique characteristic represented in Woodford Reserve. Make a plate for your friends and walk them through each step. Did they get the same tastes? Smell the same aromas?

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