Review: Woodford Reserve Distillery Series – Toasted Oak Rye

We reviewed the last entry into Woodford Reserve’s Distillery Series only in June — and as promised, the second of three special edition ryes to be released this year is already here.

Toasted Oak Rye is made from a mash of 53% rye, 33% corn, and 14% malted barley mash, matured in used Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels (time unstated), then re-barreled into new Woodford Double Oaked barrels for two years.

As a reminder, this is a distillery-only release.

This is a considerably different whiskey than the prior Blended Rye release, very sweet on the nose, with a clear butterscotch note. As the whiskey gets some air in it, the hefty wood notes come to the fore, alongside some notes of cloves, allspice, and ginger.

The sweetness similarly dominates the palate, offering more of that butterscotch, brown butter, cloves again, and gingerbread cookies. Let this one rest a bit — while it’s very sweet, it’s tempered by some wood (less than the nose would indicate), and air lets the two sides mingle quite seductively. The silky body — at a just-right 43.2% abv — supports the palate just right, leading to a long and juicy finish, with hints of applesauce and plenty of vanilla.

I first felt this rye was too sweet, and my hunch is you’ll probably feel the same way… but let it settle down so it can reveal its charms, and I think you’ll come out the other side impressed.

86.4 proof.

A- / $46 (375ml) / woodfordreserve.com

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