Hokus Pokus’ Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
I have to be honest with everyone: I went into this review expecting to be disappointed. You know that I have been trying to get barrel picks from all across the Baton Rouge area to review. Next on my list of retailers to review was Hokus Pokus. I love shopping at Hokus, but I really don’t have any of their barrel picks around right now, at least ones that I will actually open. My buddy dropped off a couple of their Elijah Craig picks that he picked up for me, but they were months old and long gone from the shelves. I try to be as current as possible with my reviews so that you all can actually go out and buy them. I figured it was time for me to make the trek back to Hokus, so that’s what I did. I visited them last Friday when they were half-packed up, gearing for their move across Prairieville. I walked in and saw the N.O. Bourbon Fest Old Forester pick, which was what I intended on snagging but it’s not Hokus’ pick after all. Then from across the room, I saw the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked and it was like magic…
Ok, not really. Woodford Reserve does not interest me very much. I respect the distillery and used to love drinking it. When I first got into bourbon 6 years ago I always had a bottle on the shelf. Now, however, I feel like I haven’t been excited about a product from them in years. I think a lot of y’all can relate to that. I’m sure most of us have enjoyed a bottle or two of Woodford but probably as our tastes have developed and matured, it’s not as enticing. It’s something to grab in a pinch when there is very little else on a liquor store shelf but definitely not something you would pick unless it was out of desperation. So, when I saw this Double Oaked pick, I shrugged, and thought why not? At the very least, I will have a solid mixer and something I can pass off on my non-bourbon snob friends who don’t know any better. I am pleased to announce though that I was dead wrong.
The Woodford Reserve Double Oaked gets its name from the fact that it is … double oaked. Woodford takes its regularly aged bourbon and re-barrels it in a new, deeply-toasted barrel that is finished with a light char for an additional year or so. Yes, that is a mouthful, but essentially, they take a new toasted barrel and give it one more char before refilling with bourbon. There are a lot of barrel finished bourbons on the market (think Angel’s Envy and their port barrel finish or Jefferson’s Groth Cask Reserve). This one is unique in that it is put in brand new oak barrels. There is some voodoo magic when it goes back into the barrels though because what I drank is leaps and bounds better than the regular Woodford.
The nose on this is sublime. Think caramel and toffee, honey crisp cereal and a giant hit of maple syrup. I’ve said it before about referring whiskey to bakeries, but this one takes the cake. The taste gets even better than the nose. Lots of vanilla and caramel again. Baking spices and honey are also incredibly prevalent. There is a ton of sweetness here that is just incredibly pleasant to drink. Lastly, the finish is fantastic. It’s long with a lot of leather and oak. This bourbon is what I will now think of when I describe a classic sweet bourbon. There are tons of those bakery sweet notes with the perfect amount of oak on the finish that makes this an incredibly balanced bourbon.
My only complaint on this bourbon is that its 90.4 proof. That’s not surprising, however, considering it is Woodford Reserve. Woodford does not have a big cask strength or even heavy proofed lineup. It’s just not what they normally do. Hokus priced it at $59.99, which initially I thought was steep; however, I’m happy with what I paid for it now. I rate this a 4.5 out of 5 pours. It’s a great bourbon that I think new & old bourbon drinkers alike will really be able to enjoy.
David Steele BSoBR, President & Co-Founder