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Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve
Type Bourbon whiskey
Manufacturer Brown-Forman
Country of origin Kentucky, United States
Alcohol by volume 45.20%
Proof (US) 90.4
Related products Brown-Forman
Woodford Reserve Distillery
Woodford Reserve is located in Kentucky
Nearest city Versailles, Kentucky
Built 1865
Architectural style Mid 19th Century Revival, Late Victorian, Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 95001272[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 7, 1995
Designated NHLD May 15, 2000

Woodford Reserve is a brand of premium small batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey produced by the Brown-Forman Corporation. It is made from a mixture of pot still spirits distilled at the company's Woodford Reserve Distillery in Woodford County, in north-central Kentucky, and column still spirits from the Brown Forman Distillery in Shively, Kentucky.[2] Each bottle is numbered with a batch number and bottle number. Woodford Reserve's alcohol content is 45.2% alcohol by volume (90.4 US Proof).


  • History 1
  • Limited Edition Collector's Sets 2
  • Reviews and accolades 3
  • Marketing activities 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The Woodford Reserve Distillery, formerly known as the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery and later the Labrot & Graham Distillery, is approximately eight miles from the town of Versailles off U.S. Route 60, between Interstate 64 and Versailles.

Distilling on the site began in 1780 and the distillery building itself was erected in 1838, making it the oldest of the nine bourbon distilleries in current operation in Kentucky as of 2010—although the site has not been continuously operational as a distillery during that history. In 1995 the distillery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2000 it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Originally established by Elijah Pepper, the distillery was passed on to his son and was known as the Oscar Pepper Distillery when Dr. James Crow worked there in the mid-19th century. During this time Dr. Crow went about a series of activities that improved and codified the understanding of, and quality of, key bourbon-making processes such as sour-mash fermentation, pot still distillation and barrel maturation. The Pepper family sold the property to Leopold Labrot and James Graham in 1878, who owned and operated it (except during Prohibition) until 1941 when it was sold to the Brown-Forman Corporation. B-F operated it until 1968 and then sold the then-mothballed property in 1971. Brown-Forman re-purchased the property in 1993 and refurbished it to bring it back into operation. The Woodford Reserve brand was introduced to the market in 1996.

After 16 years on the market, the first permanent line extension of the brand came in February 2012 as Woodford released Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon. Woodford Reserve Double Oaked starts with a fully aged Woodford Reserve at an average age of around 7 years old. This Woodford is then dumped into deeply toasted and lightly charred barrels specially created by Brown-Forman's own cooperage to age the Bourbon for about another year.[3]

Among the expressions of bottlings branded as Woodford Reserve are two variations, one being the parent brand and the other called the Masters Collection. The Master's Collection is a series of limited-quantity bottlings which are produced using the older pot still distillation method rather than modern column still technology.[4]

Woodford Reserve is currently aging rye whiskey for a new Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey as a permanent line extension with an expected release date in 2015.[5]

Limited Edition Collector's Sets

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection

In 2005, the company released the first bottling in its series called Woodford Reserve Master's Collection. One or two expressions in the collection series have been released every year (usually around November), with limited quantities and locations.

Year Batch Title Proof % ABV
2005 Four Grain Batch #1 92.4 46.2
2006 Four Grain Batch #2 92.4 46.2
2007 Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay Finish 86.4 43.2
2008 Sweet Mash 1838 86.4 43.2
2009 Seasoned Oak Finish 100.4 50.2
2010 Maple Wood Finish 94 47.2
2011 Aged Cask Rye 92.4 46.2
2011 New Cask Rye 92.4 46.2
2012 Four Wood 94.4 47.2
2013 Classic Malt 90.4 45.2
2013 Straight Malt 90.4 45.2
2014 Sonoma Cutrer Pinot Noir Finish [6] 90.4 45.2
2015 1838 Style White Corn 90.4 45.2

Commemorative Bottles

The company also releases commemorative Woodford Reserve bottlings annually for the Kentucky Derby and the Breeder's Cup.

Reviews and accolades

The still room, where copper stills are used to produce spirits from the mash.

International San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Woodford Reserve's best performances have been in 2005 and 2013, winning a double gold medal each time. It has also won gold (2006–2007, 2011-2012) and silver (2008, 2010) medals at this annual event. The Beverage Testing Institute has given the Reserve scores of between 90 and 91 and Wine Enthusiast awarded it a 90-95 point rating.[7] Spirits ratings aggregator, which averages scores from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Wine Enthusiast, the Beverage Testing Institute, and others, ranks Woodford Reserve in its highest ("Tier 1") scoring category.[8]

Marketing activities

The Woodford Reserve Distillery offers tours and is part of the American Whiskey Trail and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail promotional programs.

In a contract arrangement with Churchill Downs, Woodford Reserve has been declared the "official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby" and is used in a $1,000 mint julep cocktail that is sold to patrons on Derby Day. (Although Woodford Reserve is the Derby's "official bourbon", its sister brand Old Forester serves mint juleps as the "official drink" and is featured in the more moderately priced juleps served at the event.)

See also


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ Retrieved December 24, 2014
  3. ^ " Interview with Chris Morris and Review of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked". Retrieved February 3, 2012. 
  4. ^ Pot Stills Versus Column Stills, The Chuck Cowdery Blog: American Whiskey & Other Stuff, February 26, 2008. (Access date March 3, 2011.)
  5. ^ "New Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey;". Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  6. ^ "Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Finish;". Retrieved 2014-10-08. 
  7. ^ "'s Summary Page for Woodford Reserve". Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  8. ^ " Whiskey Page". Retrieved 2012-10-17. 

External links

  • Woodford Reserve (Brown Forman)
  • Woodford Reserve Facebook page
  • Background and a review of Woodford Reserve at
  • The Whisky Portal
  • National Historic Landmark: Labrot and Graham's Old Oscar Pepper Distillery
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