There was a time not so incredibly very long in the past when collectors of whiskey, cognac, and other aged spirits had to catch the occasional international flight if they preferred to find specific bottles at retail. Unique version bottles bought only at obligation totally free shops in international air terminals have very long been a staple in the merchandise lineups of distilleries all-around the world, lending an extra air of exclusivity to unique or limited version liquids (and something for collectors to seek out out on that very long layover in Heathrow or Hong Kong).
But with international travel grinding to a relative standstill in 2020, so have releases of travel exclusive bottles, which is why Woodford Reserve’s cognac-casked Baccarat Edition and its exquisite crystal decanter has this month landed at U.S. retail outside the airport for the incredibly to start with time. The highly limited whiskey—aged to start with in new American oak and then completed for 3-in addition a long time in made use of XO cognac barrels—is readily available at ReserveBar as nicely as at retail and the distillery for as very long as Woodford can keep it on the shelf.
That most likely will not be for very long specified the collectable character of this unique bottle, which has bought incredibly nicely at travel retail for the past few a long time, Woodford Reserve Grasp Distiller Chris Morris says. The inbound links concerning Woodford County, KY, and France go back as much as the Revolutionary War and the Marquis de Lafayette, and even though all all those historical specifics tumble a bit outside of the scope of this piece, suffice it to say that when Morris and his workforce at Woodford established out to fork out homage to the French impact on Woodford County and the start of the United States, they preferred to do something particular.
For Woodford, that also meant a return to the common. The distillery has a very long background of innovation in cask finishing, acquiring produced some of the incredibly to start with Kentucky bourbons rested in former wine casks, Maplewood casks, and the like. A bourbon celebrating Woodford’s inbound links with France could’ve simply absent a very similar route—there’s no lack of made use of wine barrels in France—but Morris had other strategies. “We assumed we had developed our credentials currently being innovators,” he says. “So now it’s time to be a little additional common and go into a cask that you’re heading to find all-around the world, that you are going to find in the single malt organization and in other apps, and that of system is a single of the great spirits of the world: cognac.”
Woodford Reserve’s experiment in cognac cask finishing was already nicely underway when the North American revenue director for Baccarat—a 250-12 months-previous French maker of crystal finery with a background achieving back to the era of Lafayette—happened to halt by the Woodford distillery even though vacationing with relatives. Immediately after tasting what Morris and his workforce ended up operating on, he was adequately impressed to send phrase up the chain to his colleagues in Paris, who achieved out to Woodford about partnering on a definitely unique bottle.
The resulting merchandise is exquisite on all fronts. The crystal decanter makes for a centerpiece bottle in any whiskey selection. The liquid alone (like all Woodford whiskies) starts off out as the exact same core bourbon as all Woodford products and solutions ahead of heading into XO cognac casks for at the very least 3 a long time, a procedure that accentuate the principal notes already present in Woodford’s bourbon: stone fruits, vanilla, spice, and so on. But there are knock-on effects as nicely. Dried fruits glow by way of on both equally the nose and palate, introducing a considerably further and sophisticated in general character to the lighter fruit notes additional typical of bourbon. As it moves throughout your palate you are going to get some creamy vanilla, heat cinnamon, light-weight caramel and honey-drizzled pastry notes, and a end that’s very long, heat, and awash in heat vanilla cream.
Of system, when acquiring a bottle like this a lot of what you’re paying for is the packaging, and at $two,000 a bottle it’s most likely not a bottle for all people. But it’s a particular bottle and a particular whiskey, a exceptional and spectacular liquid all on its have and something that may well after again be much additional complicated to get hold of after international travel (and travel-only retail) picks up again. Pre-orders for the two,000 readily available bottles are live on ReserveBar, with extra bottles readily available at choose U.S. shops and at Woodford Reserve distillery.
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