Distillery: Woodford Reserve
Bourbon: Double Oak
Seven days ago I was laying in a hospital in midtown Nashville coming in and out of consciousness. I just had my appendix removed, and I was remarkably hungry. I kept asking the nurses when I could eat real food, it had been almost 36 hours since I had eaten anything. I wasn’t thinking about this at the time, but it didn’t take long for me to ponder which whiskey I would be drinking first. I went for the big guns.
Woodford Reserve Double Oak is the Mercedes S-Class of bourbons. It is from a distillery that is on the National Register of Historic Places. The lush green campus in the middle of nowhere horse farms is constructed of stone and brass. It’s paradoxically spectacular and understated. I’m also fairly certain it possesses miraculous healing powers.
Regular Woodford is a perfect bourbon, though a bit pricey, pushing $40 for a 750ml in some states. If I am going to get Woodford, I’m going to buy Double Oak.
It has won seven gold medals in a variety of World Spirit Competitions. In 2013, it won the double gold with an additional “Highly Recommend.” The gold medals didn’t have me convinced, but I’m taking the recommendation.
Double Oak is aged twice in separate charred barrels. The first barrel is deeply charred, the second a light toasting. Each barrel extracts and adds flavors to create a syrupy smooth bourbon that I’d put on Vanilla ice cream.
I prefer my bourbons to bite back, but this is the rare example where the taste is smooth without being too sweet. It’s subtle and rich. It tastes like vanilla, caramel, marzipan (I don’t know what it is, but I like it!) and “sharp honey.”
This presents a problem because I can get to drinking a lot of it quickly— that’s not a problem but it is an economic problem because this stuff is expensive, coming in at $60 for a 750ml.
I’m not going to lie, sitting a hospital bed hopped up on goof balls instead of navigating quarantine life with a toddler and an infant wasn’t a bad change up, despite having three incisions in my abdomen. Also, it was an odd affair staying in a seemingly ghost-town hospital where everyone was masked— “post apocalyptic” is a term that comes to mind.
But I couldn’t wait to get out. No matter what the hospital said they could do to heal me, I had a feeling the Double Oak might be able to match their capabilities.