Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve Distillery

  • USA, Kentucky

Woodford Reserve Distillery building facade with trees.

Name: Woodford Reserve Distillery
Address: 7785 McCracken Pike, Versailles, KY 40383, United States
Phone: +18598791812
Website: https://www.woodfordreserve.com/distillery/tours/


History of Woodford Reserve Distillery

Woodford Reserve Distillery is a renowned name in the world of bourbon whiskey. Known for its rich history and traditional distilling methods, this distillery stands as a significant landmark in Kentucky’s bourbon heritage.

Historical Background

  • Foundation and Evolution: The distillery’s roots trace back to 1812, initially as the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery, later renamed Labrot & Graham Distillery. It’s among the oldest continuous distilling sites in Kentucky.
  • Revival and Modern Era: In the 1990s, the distillery underwent significant renovation and was rebranded as Woodford Reserve.

Distillation Process

  • Unique Approach: Woodford Reserve distinguishes itself with a combination of pot and column still distillation. This method involves triple distillation in copper pot stills and double distillation in column stills.
  • Spirit Production: The spirit is distilled to 158 proof and later reduced to a barrel entry proof of 110 for maturation.

Maturation and Barrels

  • Barrel Aging: A notable aspect of their process is the use of heat-cycled rackhouses for maturation, a method pioneered by Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr.
  • Barrel Production: The barrels, produced by Brown-Forman Cooperages, undergo a specific toasting and charring process, contributing to the whiskey’s complex flavour.

Product Range

  • Core Expressions: Woodford Reserve offers several core products like the Distiller’s Select, Double Oaked, and Rye Whiskey, each with unique characteristics.
  • Special Editions: The distillery also releases special editions and experiments under their Master’s Collection.

Current Status and Recognition

  • Innovations and Contributions: Continuously innovating, Woodford Reserve remains a significant player in the bourbon industry.
  • Part of Kentucky Bourbon Trail: The distillery is a key stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, attracting whiskey enthusiasts from around the globe.

Environmental and Community Initiatives

  • Sustainability Efforts: Woodford Reserve is committed to sustainable distilling practices, focusing on energy efficiency and waste reduction.
  • Community Engagement: The distillery engages in various community initiatives and cultural events, promoting local heritage and crafts.

Woodford Reserve Distillery’s blend of historical tradition and modern innovation makes it a pivotal institution in the bourbon industry. Its commitment to quality, unique distillation methods, and a wide range of products continue to endear it to whiskey connoisseurs worldwide.

Awards Won by Woodford Reserve Distillery

World Whisky Brand Champion 2021

Awarded by The Spirits Business, this title recognizes Woodford Reserve for its remarkable performance in the whiskey market, particularly noting its significant sales growth and entry into the million-case ranks.

Woodford Reserve Distillery Tour Information and Experience

The Woodford Reserve Distillery offers a variety of unique and immersive tour experiences for visitors, each tailored to showcase different aspects of their bourbon-making process and heritage.

Indulge the Senses Experience: This is a winter special that includes a sensorial flavor experience inspired by Double Oaked Bourbon. In partnership with Compartes Chocolates, it features a tasting of three bourbons paired with handcrafted chocolates. The experience takes place in a historic production building and lasts for 45 minutes, priced at $40 per person.

The Perfect Pair: This experience, available around Valentine’s season, involves gourmet chocolates paired with Double Oaked and Double Double Oaked bourbons. Guests also craft a Double Oaked Old Fashioned cocktail. This hour-long experience costs $250 and includes a gift pack to take home.

VIP Master Distiller Tour Experience: For the true bourbon enthusiast, this two-hour behind-the-scenes tour is led by the Master Distiller Emeritus Chris Morris and/or Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall. It covers the Distillery, Lab, Warehouse, and concludes with a Family of Brands tasting, including a limited edition bottle. This exclusive experience is limited to 8 guests and costs $500 per person.

Innovation Inspired Tour and Tasting: Highlighting Woodford Reserve’s innovative approach, this tour includes a 70-minute walking tour of the distillery, focusing on the five sources of flavor. It ends with a tasting of highly sought-after whiskies. Each guest receives a souvenir glass and the opportunity to purchase allocated whiskey. This experience is priced at $125 per person.

Mixology Experience: Hosted in the Cocktail Lounge, this 45-minute experience teaches guests to make classic cocktails using Woodford Reserve whiskies. It includes a souvenir rocks glass, recipes, and bourbon balls, priced at $50 per person.

From the Reserve: A Curated Cocktail Experience: This exclusive experience involves crafting luxury cocktails using rare whiskies from Woodford Reserve’s archival collection. It includes a 45-minute cocktail demonstration and tasting, with a souvenir Double Old Fashioned tumbler, at a cost of $150.

Reserved Tasting: Offered Wednesday to Sunday, this guided tasting includes the full Family of Brands (five samples). It is an hour-long experience, limited to eight guests, and costs $25 per person.

A High Proof Experience: Specifically for fans of higher proof bourbons, this 40-minute tasting includes samples of the 2020 and 2021 Batch Proof, along with a single barrel sample at barrel proof. It is priced at $45 per person.

These tours and experiences are subject to availability and require online reservations. The Woodford Reserve Distillery is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM EDT, and Sunday from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT. The Retail Store, Bar, and Cocktail Lounge are open without reservations, but tours and tastings do require prior booking. Visitors are advised to book their experiences up to four weeks in advance, especially during peak times​​​​​​​

Flask & Barrel Review of Woodford Reserve Distillery

Having toured numerous distilleries as a whiskey collector, my expectations for Woodford Reserve Distillery were high. And I must say, it did not disappoint. I’d rate my experience a solid 4.7 out of 5.

First off, the setting of the distillery in Versailles, Kentucky, is just picturesque. The historic feel of the place sets the perfect backdrop for a bourbon journey. Right from the start, the staff were welcoming and knowledgeable, striking that perfect balance of professionalism and friendliness.

The tour itself was a standout. It wasn’t just a walk-through; it was an immersive experience. As someone who’s seen many distilleries, what impressed me here was the unique combination of traditional methods and modern innovation. The triple distillation process in those beautiful copper pot stills was something to behold. And, of course, tasting their bourbon was the highlight – the rich, full-bodied flavor profiles are a testament to their craftsmanship.

Their range of experiences is another plus. The Mixology Experience caught my attention. It’s not every day you get to learn classic cocktail making from experts. And the Innovation Inspired Tour and Tasting is a must for enthusiasts like me. It gives a deeper insight into the nuances of bourbon-making.

What To Do Nearby Woodford Reserve Distillery

Castle & Key Distillery (2.6 miles): A short drive away, this distillery offers another unique bourbon experience with a rich history and beautiful grounds.

Coolmore America – Ashford Stud (2.5 miles): A premier thoroughbred breeding facility. It’s a great place to appreciate Kentucky’s famous horse culture.

Rail Explorers: Bluegrass KY Division (5.4 miles): Enjoy an outdoor adventure with pedal-powered rail bikes, offering a unique way to explore the Kentucky landscape.

Kentucky River Tours (7.4 miles): Experience the scenic beauty of the Kentucky River with guided boat tours, including bourbon tastings.

WinStar Farm (7.9 miles): Another renowned horse breeding and racing operation, offering a glimpse into the world of thoroughbred horses.

Wild Turkey Distillery (5.3 miles): Explore another famous bourbon distillery nearby, known for its rich history and distinctive bourbon.

New Capitol Building (6.3 miles): Visit Kentucky’s seat of government, a historic site with impressive architecture.

Frankfort Cemetery (6.2 miles): A historic cemetery offering peaceful walks and notable burials, including famous Kentuckians.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Woodford Reserve Distillery?

Cattleman’s Roadhouse: This restaurant offers a welcoming atmosphere focusing on steaks and American cuisine. It has a rating of 4.3 stars. You can reach them at (502) 848-0023. The address is 151 Jett Boulevard, Frankfort, KY 40601.

The Stave: It is known for its delightful setting and menu, rated at 4.4 stars. For inquiries or reservations, call (859) 879-0101. It’s located at 5711 McCracken Pike, Frankfort, KY 40601.

Ricardo’s Grill & Pub: This resturant with a rating of 4.5 stars, is a great spot for a casual dining experience. Contact them at (859) 873-3663. The restaurant is situated at 110 Frankfort St, Versailles, KY 40383.

What hotels are near Woodford Reserve Distillery?

Asbury Inn & Suites: The hotel has an impressive 4.8-star rating. For those interested in staying at this location, you can contact them at (859) 858-2156. The hotel is situated at 1 June Ryan Cir, Wilmore, KY 40390.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Frankfort, an IHG Hotel: It is rated 4.2 stars. Reservations can be made by calling (502) 352-4650. This hotel is located at 1000 Vandalay Dr, Frankfort, KY 40601.

The Kentucky Castle : It boasts a 4.5-star rating. You can contact them for bookings at (859) 256-0322. The address for this unique hotel is 230 Pisgah Pike, Versailles, KY 40383.