Ready for the “ultimate expression of American whiskey?” Woodford Reserve recently dropped a surprise bottling called Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition. What’s in the bottle? Standard Woodford that spends three extra years in XO Cognac casks. Of course, the name of the spirit comes from the bottle it’s in, a handmade Baccarat crystal decanter.
Per the company: “The spectacular bottle design is meant to evoke the iconic Woodford Reserve bottle silhouette and is engraved in gold with Woodford Reserve’s and Baccarat’s iconic logos. It is presented in a signature Baccarat red box and includes a crystal stopper adorned with Woodford Reserve’s initials.”
We didn’t get the decanter, but Woodford did send us a sample, plus a nice Baccarat tumbler in which to swirl our spirit. I normally taste in a Glencairn, but I will say this tastes just as good out of a $100 Old Fashioned glass.
As for the whiskey, it’s solid stuff. The nose is immediately sweet — clearly driven by all that time in Cognac casks. Butterscotch, vanilla, and some buttered popcorn lead the way, but it’s the sultry raisin note and some citrus that is unmistakably and delightfully brandy-like.
The palate doesn’t diverge from the theme: It’s quite sweet, with citrus and a little spice note up front. In a moment a burst of milk chocolate comes to the fore, which is not a flavor element I’ve really ever associated with Woodford. Again, the Cognac barrel is dominating, as well it should. That brandy makes its biggest push on the finish, where some heady incense and floral notes emerge, all set against a backdrop of lively caramel and vanilla. The combination works remarkably well, and fans of both bourbon and Cognac should find this a delight to sip on.
I will however go on the record and note that $2000 seems on the high side.