|Country of origin||Kentucky, United States|
|Alcohol by volume||45.20%|
Woodford Reserve Distillery
|Nearest city||Versailles, Kentucky|
|Architectural style||Mid 19th Century Revival, Late Victorian, Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals|
|NRHP Reference #||95001272|
|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 in Woodford County, Kentucky by the Brown-Forman Corporation. It is made from a mixture of pot still spirits produced at the company's Woodford Reserve Distillery there, and column still spirits from the Brown Forman Distillery in Shively, Kentucky. Each 45.2% alcohol by volume (90.4 US Proof) bottle bears a unique batch and bottle number.
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 in north-central Kentucky, off U.S. Route 60 between Interstate 64 and Versailles.
Distilling on the site began in 1780, with today's distillery building erected in 1838. Although the site has not been continuously operational as a distillery since, the structure stands as the oldest of the nine bourbon distilleries in operation in Kentucky as of 2010. In 1995 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2000 was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Originally established by Elijah Pepper, the distillery was passed on to his son and known as the Oscar Pepper Distillery when Dr. James Crow worked there in the mid-19th century. During this time Dr. Crow undertook a series of activities that improved and codified the understanding 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 it was sold to the Brown-Forman Corporation in 1941. Brown-Forman operated it until 1968, then sold the then-mothballed property in 1971. Brown-Forman re-purchased the property in 1993, refurbished it, and brought it back into operation. The Woodford Reserve brand was introduced to the market in 1996.
The company expanded its product line with Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon in February 2012. The "Masters Collection", a series of limited bottlings produced using the older pot still method, followed. Woodford Reserve Rye Whisky, an American style rye, was introduced in 2015.
Reviews and accolades
International Spirit ratings organizations and liquor review bodies have generally given Woodford Reserve solid scores. At the 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. Spirits ratings aggregator proof66.com, 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.
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.)
- National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- http://www.drinkspirits.com/bourbon/scenes-woodford-reserve/ Retrieved December 24, 2014
- "Proof66.com's Summary Page for Woodford Reserve". Retrieved 2012-10-17.
- "Proof66.com Whiskey Page". Retrieved 2012-10-17.