Woodford Reserve & Talking Stick Casino’s Personal Selection
Arizona is in need of a true “speakeasy”. Now, I’m not talking about some noisy dive bar that sells off brand whiskies and such, but a true speakeasy. A perfectly mood lit, brown liquor haven; imbued with smooth music and a bar fully stocked with exclusive house specialties. Last Friday night, the Cigar Brief team and I attended the premier of Talking Stick Casino’s Woodford Reserve personal blend at the Shadows Lounge in Scottsdale. If you haven’t visited the Shadows Lounge before, let me tell you, it’s about as close to a modern day speakeasy as you’re going to find here in the desert.
There’s been a growing trend amongst some of the larger distillers to start creating unique, personal selection whiskies for a growing number of luxury clients. Many distilleries offer special projects to elite retailers that, unless you’re bouncing from exclusive party to exclusive party, most of us will likely never get to sample. Well, Woodford Reserve is looking to change all that. Under the guidance of a master distiller, Woodford will tailor blend their customers a two barrel batch of their award winning whiskey to their client’s personal specifications.
The process begins with the client selecting eight different barrels originating from various locations within the temperature controlled warehouse. Once the whiskey barrels have been sampled and their characteristics isolated, the selected eight barrels are quickly whittled down to four and eventually halved again, resulting in the final product. This process not only allows for all kinds of wild variations, but seemingly encourages it. Without getting into a full on review, there are a few basics profiles that you need to know about the original Woodford’s Reserve, in order to accurately compare it to the newest iterations. Essentially, Woodford’s Reserve is a premium small batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey that packs a ton of rich oak, mild vanilla and considerable spice; thanks to its unusually high 12% rye content.
As for its casino entrenched doppelganger, the Woodford Reserve personal selection was shockingly varied from its namesake. Comparatively, the nose of the personal selection was vividly brighter with hints of citrus and toffee stealing the show. The body of the whiskey was smooth and rich with a rye note that was far more muted than its brethren. Unlike its predecessor’s recipe, which calls for an 8 and 5 year whiskey blend, the Talking Stick Woodford Reserve is blended using two 8 year maturated selections bestowing added flavor, depth, and richness. The finish is long and very smooth with notes of dark chocolate and toffee layered throughout. As far as my palates concerned, the Talking Stick edition Woodford Reserve was the clear winner of the evening. The Woodford Reserve Talking Stick personal selection is only available for a limited time, and once it’s gone, that edition is gone for good! So be sure to get over to the cool speakeasy atmosphere of the Shadows Lounge and give their personal selection a try, you won’t be disappointed.