Welcome to the world of Woodford Reserve, where tradition and innovation intertwine to create a truly exceptional bourbon experience. Located in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass region, this historic distillery has been perfecting its craft for over 200 years. Join us as we explore how Woodford Reserve continues to push the boundaries of what it means to be a premium bourbon while staying true to its time-honored traditions. Get ready for a journey through flavor, history, and the artistry that makes Woodford Reserve one of the most respected names in the industry.

Introduction to the Bourbon Trail and Woodford Reserve

The state of Kentucky is known for many things – its rolling hills, horse racing, and most notably, bourbon. The Bourbon Trail is a popular tourist attraction that takes visitors on a journey through the heart of Kentucky’s bourbon country. One of the stops on this trail is Woodford Reserve, a distillery that has been producing some of the finest bourbons in the world since 1812.

The Bourbon Trail was established in 1999 by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association as a way to promote and educate people about the rich history and process behind making bourbon. It consists of nine distilleries scattered throughout central Kentucky, each with its own unique story and style.

One of these distilleries is Woodford Reserve, located in Versailles, just outside Lexington. This historic site was originally founded by Elijah Pepper in 1812 and has changed ownership multiple times over the years before becoming what it is today – one of the premier bourbon destinations in Kentucky.

Woodford Reserve prides itself on preserving tradition while also embracing innovation. They are committed to using only the highest quality ingredients and following strict production methods to create their award-winning bourbons. In fact, they were one of the first distilleries to be recognized as a National Historic Landmark due to their significance in shaping American whiskey culture.

Visitors can take a tour of Woodford Reserve’s picturesque grounds and learn about every step of their artisanal process – from milling grains to bottling finished products. The tours also include tastings where you can sample some of their signature bourbons such as Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select or Double Oaked Bourbons.

Aside from its traditional methods, what sets Woodford Reserve apart is their commitment to innovation. In recent years, they have introduced new expressions such as their malt whiskey line and even experimented with different barrel finishes like cherry wood or maplewood casks.

The Bourbon Trail is a must-visit for any bourbon lover, and Woodford Reserve is a standout destination on this trail. With its rich history, commitment to quality, and embrace of innovation, it truly represents the best of what Kentucky bourbon has to offer. So come experience where tradition meets innovation at Woodford Reserve – you won’t be disappointed.

History of Woodford Reserve Distillery

The history of Woodford Reserve Distillery dates back to 1812 when it was originally founded by Elijah Pepper. Located in Versailles, Kentucky, the distillery has a rich heritage and is known as the oldest working bourbon distillery in the United States. It has survived through multiple owners, natural disasters, and even Prohibition to become one of the most renowned bourbon producers in the world.

Elijah Pepper was a pioneer in the bourbon industry and is credited with introducing new techniques for production that are still used today. He believed that aging his whiskey longer would result in a smoother and more refined taste, which set him apart from other distillers at the time. This attention to detail and commitment to quality laid the foundation for what would eventually become Woodford Reserve.

In 1838, Pepper’s son-in-law Dr. James Crow took over the distillery and continued his father-in-law’s quest for perfection. Dr. Crow is credited with developing many of the modern processes used in bourbon making including sour mash fermentation and using charred oak barrels for aging. These methods are still practiced at Woodford Reserve today.

In 1878, Oscar Pepper (son of Elijah) sold the distillery to Leopold Labrot and James Graham who renamed it Old Oscar Pepper Distillery. Unfortunately, just five years later a fire destroyed much of the facility forcing them to sell it to Brown-Forman Corporation in 1941.

Under Brown-Forman’s ownership, Old Oscar Pepper Distillery was renamed Labrot & Graham Distillery after its original founders. However, due to declining sales during Prohibition and World War II, production was halted entirely in 1968.

It wasn’t until 1993 when Brown-Forman acquired another historic Kentucky brand – Early Times – that they decided to reopen Labrot & Graham Distillery under its current name: Woodford Reserve Distillery.

Since then, Woodford Reserve has become a leader in the bourbon industry, known for its unique flavor profile and commitment to craftsmanship. In 2003, the distillery was designated as a National Historic Landmark, recognizing its significant contribution to American whiskey making.

Today, Woodford Reserve continues to honor its heritage while also embracing innovation. Its Master Distiller Chris Morris is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of traditional bourbon making while still adhering to the core principles established by Elijah Pepper over 200 years ago. This blend of tradition and innovation has solidified Woodford Reserve’s place as one of the most beloved and respected bourbon brands in the world.

Unique Features and Techniques used by Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve is a renowned bourbon brand that has been in the industry for over 200 years. With such a rich history, it’s no surprise that they have developed unique features and techniques to create their signature flavor profile. In this section, we will delve into the various aspects of Woodford Reserve that make it stand out from other bourbons.

  1. Triple Distillation Process:

One of the most significant factors that contribute to the smoothness and complexity of Woodford Reserve is its triple distillation process. Unlike traditional bourbon production, which involves only two rounds of distillation, Woodford Reserve goes through an additional third round. This extra distillation step refines the spirit even further and helps remove any impurities, resulting in a clean and well-rounded taste.

  1. Use of Copper Pot Stills:

Another key aspect of Woodford Reserve’s production process is its use of copper pot stills for distillation. These stills are known for their ability to produce more flavorful spirits by allowing just the right amount of contact between the alcohol vapors and copper surfaces. The result is a smoother and more refined product.

  1. Charcoal Filtering:

After distillation, Woodford Reserve undergoes a unique charcoal filtering process known as “Lincoln County Process.” This technique involves passing the whiskey through maple wood charcoal before aging it in barrels. The charcoal acts as a natural filter, removing impurities while imparting subtle flavors from the wood.

  1. Small Batch Production:

Unlike other mass-produced bourbons, Woodford Reserve takes pride in its small-batch production approach. This means that each batch consists of only a limited number of barrels hand-selected by Master Distiller Chris Morris for their exceptional quality and flavor profiles. This attention to detail ensures consistency in taste while also allowing for slight variations between batches, making each bottle truly special.

5.Six Sources Of Water:

Water plays a crucial role in whisky production as it affects the final taste and aroma. Woodford Reserve sources water from six different places, including a natural limestone shelf, which adds unique mineral qualities to the whiskey. This multi-sourced water ensures a balanced and consistent flavor profile.

Woodford Reserve’s unique features and techniques set it apart from other bourbons in the market. From its triple distillation process and use of copper pot stills to its charcoal filtering method and small-batch production approach, every step of their production process is carefully crafted to create a one-of-a-kind bourbon that has stood the test of time.

Tasting Experience at Woodford Reserve

At Woodford Reserve, visitors are invited to go on a unique and immersive tasting experience. From the moment you step into the distillery, you are greeted with the rich aromas of bourbon and the warm hospitality of the staff.

The tour begins with a guided walk through the historic distillery where you will learn about the history of Woodford Reserve and its place in Kentucky’s bourbon industry. You will also have the opportunity to see firsthand how every bottle of Woodford Reserve is crafted with care and precision.

After the informative tour, it’s time for the main event – a tasting session in one of Woodford Reserve’s beautifully designed tasting rooms. Each room is elegantly decorated with wooden accents and cozy seating areas, creating a welcoming atmosphere that complements the whiskey perfectly.

During the tasting, guests are guided through a selection of Woodford Reserve bourbons, each showcasing different flavors and characteristics. The knowledgeable staff will take you through each step of how to properly taste bourbon – from examining its color and aroma to savoring its complex flavors on your palate.

As you sip on each carefully handcrafted pour, you’ll learn about what makes Woodford Reserve stand out from other bourbons. From their unique triple-distillation process to their use of traditional copper pot stills, every aspect is meticulously explained by your guide.

But it’s not just about learning – it’s also about experiencing. With each sip, you’ll be transported into a world where tradition meets innovation – where centuries-old techniques coexist with modern advancements to create an exceptional spirit.

To improve your tasting experience even further, guests can also opt for food pairings that complement each bourbon’s distinct flavor profile. From sweet treats like chocolate truffles to savory bites like charcuterie boards, these pairings elevate both the whiskey and food in delicious harmony.

As your tasting comes to an end, you’ll have gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into every bottle of Woodford Reserve. And with a gift shop on site, you can take home your favorite bourbon or merchandise to continue the experience at home.

The tasting experience at Woodford Reserve is a must-do for any whiskey enthusiast. It’s an opportunity to taste world-class bourbon in a beautiful setting while learning about its rich history and production process. So come raise a glass at Woodford Reserve and discover why it truly is where tradition meets innovation.

Behind the Scenes: Tour of the Distillery

The Woodford Reserve Distillery, located in the heart of Kentucky’s scenic Bluegrass region, is a place where tradition and innovation come together to craft some of the world’s finest bourbon. While the end product may be what we all know and love, there is an entire world behind the scenes at the distillery that many people may not know about.

A tour of the Woodford Reserve Distillery takes visitors on a journey through time, showcasing the rich history and meticulous processes that go into creating this beloved bourbon. The tour begins with a walk through the historic 1838 distillery building, where you can see firsthand how bourbon was made over 200 years ago. From its limestone walls to its copper pot stills, every aspect of this building exudes a sense of old-world charm.

As you continue on your tour, you’ll venture into modern-day production facilities where latest technology meets traditional methods. The fermentation room is a sight to behold as large wooden fermentation vats line the walls alongside sleek stainless-steel ones. This blend of old and new techniques allows Woodford Reserve to achieve its signature flavor profile while also meeting demand for their popular bourbon.

One of the highlights of the tour is undoubtedly getting an up-close look at their iconic copper pot stills. These massive vessels are responsible for transforming mash into alcohol through a process known as distillation. The craftsmanship and attention to detail put into these stills are truly impressive and reflect Woodford Reserve’s commitment to quality.

But it’s not just about seeing how things are made – it’s also about experiencing them firsthand. Visitors have the opportunity to taste samples straight from one of Woodford Reserve’s barrels during their tour. It’s a chance to savor this flavorful spirit before it even hits store shelves.

The final stop on the tour brings you to Warehouse A – home to thousands of aging barrels filled with maturing bourbon. Here, visitors can witness first-hand the impact that time and environment have on bourbon as it ages. The distinct aromas and flavors that develop within these barrels are a testament to the patience and dedication of the master distillers at Woodford Reserve.

From start to finish, a tour of the Woodford Reserve Distillery is an immersive experience that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the craft of bourbon making. It’s a must-visit destination for any whiskey lover and will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the tradition and innovation that goes into each bottle of Woodford Reserve.

Meet the Master Distillers of Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve is a brand that prides itself on its rich history and commitment to quality. At the heart of this iconic bourbon lies the master distillers, who have dedicated their lives to perfecting the art of crafting Woodford Reserve. These individuals are the driving force behind the brand’s success and are responsible for upholding its traditions while also embracing innovation.

One such master distiller is Chris Morris, who has been with Woodford Reserve since 2003. With over 40 years of experience in the whiskey industry, Morris brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role. He is known for his meticulous attention to detail and his unwavering dedication to preserving the unique flavor profile of Woodford Reserve. Under his leadership, Woodford Reserve has received numerous accolades and awards, solidifying its place as one of the top bourbon brands in the world.

Another key figure in Woodford Reserve’s team of master distillers is Elizabeth McCall, who joined in 2018 as Assistant Master Distiller. McCall is not only one of the few female master distillers in Kentucky but also one of the youngest at just 32 years old. Her passion for whiskey-making runs deep, having grown up on her family’s farm where they grew corn used in bourbon production. She brings a fresh perspective and innovative ideas to Woodford Reserve while staying true to its roots.

The third member of this esteemed trio is Master Distiller Emeritus Chris “Moose” Morris III, who retired in 2020 after over four decades with Brown-Forman (the parent company of Woodford Reserve). During his tenure at Woodford Reserve, Moose was instrumental in creating some of their most beloved expressions such as Double Oaked and Four Grain Bourbon. His vast knowledge and experience continue to influence Woodford Reserve’s production process today.

What sets these master distillers apart from others in their field is their commitment to using traditional techniques and quality ingredients. They oversee every step of the production process, from selecting the grains to aging the whiskey in specially crafted oak barrels. This attention to detail ensures that each bottle of Woodford Reserve is of the highest quality and consistently maintains its signature flavor.

In addition to preserving tradition, Woodford Reserve’s master distillers are also constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation. They experiment with different grains, barrel finishes, and aging techniques to create new and exciting expressions while staying true to the brand’s core values.

These master distillers are a testament to Woodford Reserve’s dedication to excellence and their passion for producing exceptional bourbon. It is their expertise and vision that make Woodford Reserve more than just a drink – it is an experience steeped in tradition yet always looking towards the future.

Innovation in Bourbon Making: Woodford Reserve’s Distillery Series

Woodford Reserve is a brand that prides itself on its commitment to both tradition and innovation in the world of bourbon making. The Woodford Reserve Distillery Series, in particular, showcases this dedication through its unique approach to crafting small batch bourbons.

The series, which was first launched in 2015, consists of limited-edition releases that showcase different aspects of the distillation process. Each release focuses on a specific element such as grain selection, fermentation techniques or barrel aging – all of which contribute to the complex flavors found in Woodford Reserve’s signature bourbon.

One example of this innovative approach is the “Four Grain” release from the Distillery Series. This expression features four grains – corn, rye, wheat and malted barley – instead of the traditional three grains used in most bourbons. This combination results in a bold and flavorful whiskey with notes of honey, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Another standout release from the series is “Double Double Oaked”, where Master Distiller Chris Morris took his award-winning Double Oaked bourbon and aged it for an additional year in a new heavily toasted French oak barrel. The result? A smooth and rich bourbon with hints of dark chocolate, caramelized wood sugars and toasted oak.

Aside from experimenting with different grains and barrel types, Woodford Reserve’s innovative spirit can also be seen through their use of non-traditional maturation methods. One notable example is their “Sonnefeld Finish”, where barrels are exposed to UV rays to improve the flavor profile by accelerating the maturation process. This unique technique resulted in a whiskey with intense aromas of vanilla bean, roasted nuts and spices.

In addition to these experimental releases, Woodford Reserve also pays homage to their traditional roots by incorporating historic techniques into their production process. For instance, they use pot stills – a method dating back over 200 years – for one step during distillation rather than utilizing modern column stills. This imparts a richer and more robust flavor to their bourbon.

The Woodford Reserve Distillery Series is a testament to the brand’s dedication to innovation, while still staying true to their traditional roots. It allows whiskey enthusiasts to experience the complexity and depth of flavors that can be achieved through different techniques and methods. Whether it’s exploring new grains, barrel finishes or maturation techniques, the Distillery Series showcases Woodford Reserve’s commitment to pushing the boundaries in bourbon making while maintaining the highest quality standards.

Woodford Reserve has truly perfected the art of blending tradition with innovation, creating a bourbon that stands out among the rest. From their use of traditional copper pot stills to experimenting with unique flavor profiles, this brand continues to push boundaries while staying true to its roots. With every sip, you can taste the craftsmanship and dedication put into each bottle. Whether enjoyed neat or in a delicious cocktail, Woodford Reserve is an embodiment of excellence and a testament to the power of combining tradition with innovation.



Why BourbonTown Tours Is The Perfect Choice?


Pocket-Friendly Adventures

Embark on an unforgettable journey without burning a hole in your pocket.


Off-the-Beaten-Path Experiences

Discover hidden gems and lesser-known spots that only we can guide you to.


Passionate & Knowledgeable Team

With our expert crew, each tour goes beyond sightseeing.

vacation starts with our tours around Kentucky