A rare Woodford Reserve whiskey goes on sale today for the first time in the United State. Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition is among the most pricey whiskeys ever released from the distillery, and its unique pedigree also makes it one of the rarest.
Baccarat Edition is made from Woodford bourbon aged for an additional three years in French oak XO cognac casks, and bottled in a custom Baccarat crystal decanter that, according to the distillery, takes five days to make.
“Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition is a celebration of history, a celebration of the connections between France and Kentucky—and a celebration of the finest flavors of bourbon and cognac,” Master Distiller Chris Morris said of today’s release.
This is not the first time that Woodford has offered the rare Baccarat Edition, which was first released over a year ago. But the bottle had been available exclusively in Duty Free retailers, making it difficult to get your hands on a bottle without a passport (and the then-price of $1,500).
Woodford is still playing up the French connection for this release. Baccarat, which is celebrating more than 250 years, was founded in 1764 by King Louis XV. And since Woodford is located in Versailles, Kentucky, which was named for the palatial home of French royalty for generations.
But now that we’ve tasted a sample, it’s clear the marketing language isn’t necessary—this is a delicious whiskey.
Three years in that French ex-cognac wood, though, has honeyed this whiskey beautifully. Vanilla and cocoa create a through-trend from nose to finish, with peach orchards on the nose and nutmeg and orange peel on the palate. The finish is sweet and soft, and prfoundly creamy. It really brings out this otherwise subtle caramel note running throughout the dram.
For $2,000, this is among the priciest releases of American whiskey you can get your hands on, putting it up there with some of the rarest Michter’s releases, and the after-market value of the Van Winkle bourbons. And yes, knowing that there are a mere three years of difference between this luxury bottle and the $40 bourbon you can pull off a shelf today elsewhere makes buying this bourbon a pretty serious decision.
Would we commit that kind of cash to it ourselves? Let’s just say this is a great time to be making affluent friends. If you have one, send them to Reserve Bar, where it will be easiest to get a bottle. Limited retailers nationwide will also have this gorgeous decanted and whiskey while supplies last.