Bourbon Reborn

Long ago, Kentucky established itself as the birthplace of bourbon, but with the new ultra-premium Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, the Commonwealth is about to take the bourbon industry to a new level.

As Woodford Reserve’s first permanent line extension, the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked is a full-bodied bourbon twice barreled in White Oak and matured to perfection for sipping straight up or with a single ice cube.

Brown-Forman’s Master Distiller Chris Morris helped create the concept for the double barreled concoction after requests from Woodford aficionados to create an exclusive line of bourbon.

“We could go into a second barrel, a barrel that has been created exceptionally to new standards that have never been asked of the bourbon industry before, put mature Woodford in that barrel and develop a new product,” Morris said. “By adding the second barrel, we’re going to add more color, more aroma, more flavor.”

The Voice-Tribune Photographer Chris Humphreys and I went down to Brown-Forman’s Bourbon Street Café recently to sample the libation that is causing a national stir.

As my coworker aptly put it, this drink is “the dessert of bourbons.”

With the sweet smell of dark fruit, honey, caramel, chocolate, marzipan and toasted oak, and the flavor of rich vanilla, dark caramel, hazelnut, apple and spice, the Double Oaked just may be my new favorite spirit.

Double Oaked Orange Manhattan.

Double Oaked Orange Manhattan.

I’ll be honest, despite having been born and raised in Louisville, I’ve never been much of a fan of bourbon — until now, that is.

The drink is simply incredible, and even the non-bourbon lover will surrender to the taste.

Don’t just take my word for it; the Double Oaked has received rave reviews from just about everyone.

“(The response has) been unbelievable,” said Morris. “It’s been scary: ‘The Best Bourbon ever.’ ‘Worth every penny of $50.’ The Huffington Post just said it’s the ultimate Valentine’s gift. I’ve never seen a product get reviews like this has … We expect success and from early accounts, anecdotally this is the best bourbon whiskey ever.”

I could have continued to devour the bourbon by itself at the tasting, but I also had the opportunity to try some of Woodford Reserve Chef Ouita Michel’s delectable hors’ doeuvres as well.

While enjoying the Woodford Double Oaked Orange Manhattan, I sampled the mini yeast rolls with Woodford Reserve marinated beef tenderloin, Chambord red onions and Woodford Reserve Henry Bain sauce; bite-sized Derby Pie squares — my absolute favorite; wild mushroom and gorgonzola bruschetta, country ham crepe pinwheels; lobster salad; and pulled pork BBQ on a corn grits round.

Lobster Salad.

Lobster Salad.

The combination of food and drink was heavenly, to say the least. And, you too, will have the chance to put the new Double Oaked to the test next month when it hits shelves.

It’s no exaggeration that this is quite possibly the best bourbon around, so clear out the liquor cabinet and make room for the next whiskey that just may go down in history as being responsible for the rebirth of bourbon.

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked is 90.4 proof with a suggested retail price of $49.99 for a 750 ml bottle.

For more information, visit www.woodfordreserve.com.

Contact writer Ashley Anderson at aanderson@voice-tribune.com, 502.498.2051.