There was a time not so very lengthy back when collectors of whiskey, cognac, and other aged spirits had to capture the occasional international flight if they required to discover specified bottles at retail. Special edition bottles sold only at responsibility free stores in international air terminals have lengthy been a staple in the products lineups of distilleries about the environment, lending an additional air of exclusivity to exclusive or minimal edition liquids (and a thing for collectors to seek out out on that lengthy layover in Heathrow or Hong Kong).
But with international vacation grinding to a relative standstill in 2020, so have releases of vacation unique bottles, which is why Woodford Reserve’s cognac-casked Baccarat Version and its exquisite crystal decanter has this month landed at U.S. retail outside the house the airport for the very to start with time. The really minimal whiskey—aged to start with in new American oak and then finished for 3-in addition several years in applied XO cognac barrels—is accessible at ReserveBar as very well as at retail and the distillery for as lengthy as Woodford can preserve it on the shelf.
That probably won’t be for lengthy offered the collectable character of this certain bottle, which has sold very very well at vacation retail for the past couple several years, Woodford Reserve Learn Distiller Chris Morris claims. The one-way links concerning Woodford County, KY, and France go back again as significantly as the Groundbreaking War and the Marquis de Lafayette, and while all all those historic facts slide a bit outside the house of the scope of this piece, suffice it to say that when Morris and his crew at Woodford set out to pay back homage to the French influence on Woodford County and the beginning of the United States, they required to do a thing exclusive.
For Woodford, that also meant a return to the traditional. The distillery has a lengthy background of innovation in cask finishing, acquiring made some of the very to start with Kentucky bourbons rested in former wine casks, Maplewood casks, and the like. A bourbon celebrating Woodford’s one-way links with France could’ve quickly absent a related route—there’s no shortage of applied wine barrels in France—but Morris had other thoughts. “We considered we had built our qualifications staying innovators,” he claims. “So now it’s time to be a very little extra traditional and go into a cask that you’re heading to discover about the environment, that you will discover in the solitary malt small business and in other applications, and that of study course is just one of the good spirits of the environment: cognac.”
Woodford Reserve’s experiment in cognac cask finishing was now very well underway when the North American sales director for Baccarat—a 250-year-old French maker of crystal finery with a background reaching back again to the period of Lafayette—happened to quit by the Woodford distillery while vacationing with relatives. Right after tasting what Morris and his crew have been doing work on, he was sufficiently impressed to ship word up the chain to his colleagues in Paris, who arrived at out to Woodford about partnering on a certainly exclusive bottle.
The ensuing products is exquisite on all fronts. The crystal decanter can make for a centerpiece bottle in any whiskey assortment. The liquid by itself (like all Woodford whiskies) starts out as the same core bourbon as all Woodford merchandise in advance of heading into XO cognac casks for at minimum 3 several years, a approach that intensify the primary notes now present in Woodford’s bourbon: stone fruits, vanilla, spice, and many others. But there are knock-on results as very well. Dried fruits shine as a result of on both the nose and palate, including a fairly further and advanced over-all character to the lighter fruit notes extra typical of bourbon. As it moves across your palate you will get some creamy vanilla, warm cinnamon, light caramel and honey-drizzled pastry notes, and a end that is lengthy, warm, and awash in warm vanilla product.
Of study course, when getting a bottle like this considerably of what you’re paying out for is the packaging, and at $two,000 a bottle it’s probably not a bottle for anyone. But it’s a exclusive bottle and a exclusive whiskey, a scarce and beautiful liquid all on its own and a thing that may when once again be significantly extra difficult to get when international vacation (and vacation-only retail) picks up once again. Pre-orders for the two,000 accessible bottles are are living on ReserveBar, with additional bottles accessible at select U.S. suppliers and at Woodford Reserve distillery.
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