A visit to Woodford Reserve Distillery

Woodford Reserve Distillery

My camera’s battery died just a few photographs into our tour of the Woodford Reserve Distillery, between Frankfort and Versailles in central Kentucky. It’s a shame, because the place is so picturesque. I would have liked to photograph it extensively.

The distillery is also historic, one of the oldest in Kentucky. Known previously as the Labrot and Graham Distillery and before that the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery, whiskey has been made here since 1812. Woodford Reserve is a Johnny-come-lately on the scene, having been distilled only since 1996.

Thanks to my iPhone for making it possible to document this visit at all. Here are Woodford Reserve’s famous copper pot stills, and also my wife Margaret from behind.

Woodford Reserve Distillery

Those pot stills make up only part of Woodford Reserve bourbon. The rest of it comes from the column stills of the Brown-Forman distillery in suburban Louisville, an hour to the west.

Woodford Reserve Distillery

Its rickhouse, where the bourbon barrels are left to age, is unusual in that it’s made of stone. So many are made of wood.

Woodford Reserve Distillery

One odd thing I noticed is that barrels in the rickhouse, the ones I could see anyway, carried distillery number DSP-KY-52. But newer barrels, including ones recently filled, bore the number DSP-KY-15018. This must be something quite new, as an Internet search on DSP-KY-15018 turns up nothing. A search on DSP-KY-52 returns all sorts of references to the Woodford Reserve Distillery. I wish I’d asked the tour guide about it.

Woodford Reserve Distillery

As a fellow who is seriously into bourbon, I appreciate a bar with a wide selection that includes some esoteric whiskies. But Woodford Reserve is a very nice bourbon, and most every bar carries it. Anywhere I go, I’m perfectly happy with a pour of Woodford Reserve. Neat, of course.

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15 thoughts on “A visit to Woodford Reserve Distillery

  1. Thanks for the background on Woodford Reserve, I see it on shelves when I look for other things but didn’t know anything about it.

    I love how distilleries maintain the coopering craft.

  2. jon campo says:

    Thanks for the behind the scene tour Jim. I am a fan of this great all-American beverage also, although I stick to the less expensive brands myself. I’ll bet this was a fun trip. I’ve thought about it but I doubt I’ll go that way again, the south scares me frankly.

  3. DougD says:

    Neat, of course!

    What’s not neat is that once again too far west for me to visit on my trip :( at least there’s craft breweries in Asheville.

  4. tbm3fan says:

    Woodford Reserve is one of my favorites along with Maker’s Mark. Has been since around 2000 but didn’t know it is circa only 1996. Had a shot last night buy always put a chip of ice in to release the aromatics.

  5. Terry says:

    I live in Woodford County and I’ve never been to that distillery. I must go. A little farther down the same road is the Old Taylor Distillery. It stood abandoned for years and was a photographer’s dream. It has been fixed up now and they do conduct tours there…but it is not as much fun to photograph now. I’m attracted to ruins. :-)

  6. Heide says:

    What a pity about your camera battery, Jim! But you got some lovely images just the same, plus a great appreciation of a bourbon even your non-drinking friend here has heard of. :)

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