There are more than 200 detectable flavors in Woodford Reserve – 212 to be exact. Here at Woodford Reserve we’ve developed an interactive tasting allowing you to train your palate to identify certain flavors in every sip of our bourbon. All it takes is some aged cheese, dark chocolate and a few other morsels to get started.

Happy Sipping.





What You'll Need

Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon.

Each edible sample listed is ideal for tastings. Substitute items can be found in most bars.

  • Aged Parmesan
  • Toasted Hazelnut
  • Dried Cranberry
  • Orange Slice
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Sorghum


Arrange the samples clockwise on a small plate. Conduct the sampling of each in the order indicated below with each followed by a sip of Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon. After each, rinse the palate with a sip of water before the next sample.

How to Conduct a Proper Tasting


Chew the food sample and breathe through your nose to take in the full breath of the flavours.


Take a sip of the Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select Bourbon.


Cleanse your palate with a sip of cool or room temperature water.


Observe a conversational pause before moving on to the next sample.

The Tasting

The tasting includes five specific food pairings that will accentuate certain characteristics of Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon. Aged Parmesan Cheese, a Toasted Hazelnut, a Dried Cranberry, an Orange Wedge, a high-grade Dark Chocolate, and a small scoop of Sorghum Syrup. The samples all have individual flavor properties that will excite the palate and bring out the subtleties of Woodford Reserve.

Step 1: Cheese

We are going to begin the tasting with a piece of Aged Parmesan Cheese. You could substitute an olive if none is available.

WHY: The high fat content in the cheese coats the mouth and highlights the woody and nutty characteristics presented by Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon’s unique maturation process. You may taste pecan, almond, or a hint of oak.


BRINGS OUT: Pecan and other nutty flavors.

Step 2: Hazelnut

Next up is the toasted hazelnut pairing. A toasted pecan, cashew, or Brazil nut could act as a substitute.

WHY: The tannic acid in the nut highlights the contributions of the toasted oak that is carefully selected when producing Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon barrels.. This may bring to mind the wood, nut and pecan flavors of Woodford Reserve. You could substitute a toasted pecan, cashew, or Brazil nut.


BRINGS OUT: Wood, nut and pecan.

Step 3: Cranberry

Our third pairing is with a dried cranberry.

WHY: The tart cranberry ignites the fruit and floral aromas in the olfactory system. These notes comes from Woodford Reserve’s yeast strain and extra long six-day fermentation process. You may experience cherry, blackberry, and cooked peach in a sip after this pairing.


BRINGS OUT: Cherry, blackberry and cooked peach.

Step 4: Orange

We will now move onto a sampling of a fresh orange slice.

WHY: The essential oils in the orange express the citrus characters that can be detected in Woodford Reserve. Bourbon that is triple distilled in copper pot stills and fermented with an extra long six day process contribute to the fragrant notes of orange, lemon, or peach.


BRINGS OUT: Orange, lemon and peach.

Step 5: Chocolate

Ready for the next step? A small piece of dark chocolate is the guest in this pairing.

WHY: The dark chocolate highlights the spice flavors in Woodford Reserve, which come from the mashbill, extra long fermentation process, and handcrafted barrels used to mature the whiskey. The rich dark chocolate can bring out notes of chocolate, coffee, clove and tobacco leaf.

FLAVOR CATEGORIES: Aromatics and Spice

BRINGS OUT: Chocolate, coffee, clove and tobacco leaf.

Step 6: Sorghum

Mild and round character of the wood barrels with a hint of smoke.

WHY: The Sorghum Syrup brings out sweet aroma characteristics found in Woodford Reserve. The grassy notes in the finish stem from the corn, rye, and malted barley grain recipe. You may also taste caramel and honey. This is the only sample that brings out the grain section.

FLAVOR CATEGORIES: Aromatics and Grain

BRINGS OUT: Caramel, honey with hints of grass notes.

Finished this tasting? Click here to continue.


You have completed the official Woodford Reserve Tasting. Each sip has been a journey to create, and we hope you’ve enjoyed discovering the different flavor notes our bourbon has received along the way.


Want to do the tasting again? Click here.

Woodford Reserve has more than 200 identifiable flavors and aromas, made possible by our five sources of flavor: water, grain, fermentation, distillation and maturation. Learn more about how we craft differently at all five sources of flavor here.

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Crafted Carefully. Drink Responsibly.

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Whiskey, 43.2%-45.2% Alc. by Vol., The Woodford Reserve Distillery, Versailles, KY.

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