Woodford Reserve: A masterclass in craft Bourbon with Tom Vernon

Woodford Reserve dates back to the 1800s and is an Artisanal bourbon that is being widely used by top bartenders across London.

How do I know this? Because I recently attended a small masterclass at the South Place Hotel, with the Woodford Reserve brand ambassador, Tom Vernon. He was giving us a crash course on this small batch, triple distilled bourbon as part of my entry for the Woodford Reserve Classic American cocktail Challenge (all to be revealed tomorrow!).

Old Fashioned

And let me tell you, Tom V knows his mixologists. So I made sure I got the lowdown on where we Londoners can find the best, expert-crafted cocktails.

Tom Vernon Woodford Reserve

But first, that masterclass….

Tom Vernon Woodford Reserve

For anyone who wants to know a bit more about Woodford Reserve, this is a fairly new brand that was launched in 1996 – but as I say, the bourbon itself dates back to the 1800s to the USA’s oldest distillery, located on the banks of Glens Creek River in Kentucky.

Kentucky whisky has to be aged for at least four years and Woodford Reserve is around the 7-year mark. The grain recipe that flavours the bourbon also has to be comprised of at least 51% corn. Woodford Reserve uses 72% corn plus 10% barley and a particularly high level of rye (18% to be exact) which gives it a distinct ‘spicy’ flavour.

As it’s a small, artisan bourbon, it’s then distilled through a hipster’s beard, er I mean, maple barrel…

..actually, watch this video for a better explanation.

The result is a deliciously smooth and highly complex flavoured drink which (if you’ve got a decent enough palate) will bring notes of stewed fruits and caramel, to creamy vanilla and perhaps cloves, star anise and nutmeg flavours to your tastebuds.

Woodford Reserve

The ultimate thing to do with this, is to simply mix with ice, a few dashes of angostura bitters, perhaps a touch of sugar and a wedge of orange for the classic Old Fashioned.

Woodford Reserve

Or, if you’re taking part in the Woodford Reserve Classic American Cocktail Challenge, like me, you can play around with it and come up with your own take on this classic tipple.

But all will be revealed tomorrow!

Until next time x