In my book Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey is one of the most versatile and balanced bourbons on the market.
There's a reason this bourbon won the Best in Class Gold Medal at the 2012 International Spirits Challenge.
And that's because this popular brand of bourbon delivers world class flavor, wide availability all at a reasonable price!
In this post we'll discuss some of Woodford Reserve's whiskey offerings along with highlights from a visit I made to their facilities along the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky.
Have a specific question? Jump ahead to important things to know about Woodford Reserve using the table of contents below:
Woodford Reserve is by no means a rare bourbon. You can find it pretty much everywhere that claims to know even a little bit about good spirits.
And for that we should all be thankful.
After all, drinking great bourbon shouldn't cost an arm and a leg. But often times drinkers are willing to pay up for a rare pour.
The great flavor, consistent availability and fair price are why I consider Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey the Ol' Faithful of spirits.
Below you'll find everything you should know before visiting their distillery in person!
You'll notice some links and advertisements from partner or affiliate sites throughout this post. I typically earn a small commission on any purchases made through those links at no additional cost to you. If you check those out, great. If not, I'm still happy you're here!
Where is Woodford Reserve located
Woodford Reserve is located in Versailles, Kentucky. The distillery is located about 30 minutes West of Lexington. If you're having a hard time finding it on Google the address is:
7785 McCracken Pike
Versailles, KY 40383
Another great place to get location information is on the Woodford Reserve website here.
Since Woodford Reserve is conveniently located in the Bourbon Trail region you'll have no problem reaching other distilleries if that's your goal. Two of the closer distilleries to Woodford Reserve are Four Roses and Wild Turkey.
What to expect when visiting Woodford Reserve
The drive out to Woodford Reserve is incredibly scenic. Through the rolling bluegrass hills of Kentucky you'll serpentine past a large number of horse farms. This shouldn't be surprising given the states rich culture and history around horse racing.
If you're making a longer trip to Kentucky, keep a lookout for horse racing events which are common in nearby Lexington.
Tucked away in these bluegrass hills you'll eventually stumble upon the Woodford Reserve facilities.
There are two separate parking lots located on opposite sides of the road. On one side there's parking for the bar area. On the other is where you'll go for a distillery tour, tasting or to check out the merchandise shop.
If you're coming for a timed tasting or tour like we were, be sure to budget some time on either the front or back end to stop by the bar! There you can purchase different Woodford inspired cocktails.
The distillery typically has a great stock of all their normal styles. But if you're interested in purchasing a rarer bottle I'd recommend reaching out to the distillery ahead of time to see if they pre announce release dates.
During the tasting we were able to try the Straight bourbon whiskey, rye, malt and wheat styles. We also had the opportunity to try a batch they were working on that was a 104 proof finished in a brandy barrel.
The entire experience was a great time and our tasting leader was extremely knowledgeable on all of their styles.
Anyone who considers themselves a bourbon or whiskey lover should definitely visit Woodford Reserve in person. Make a weekend out of visiting Lexington for a horse race in the Spring on one day and tour a couple nearby distilleries on the other!
My top pick at Woodford Reserve
I'm actually going to throw a bit of a curveball on this one.
I drink their flagship straight bourbon whiskey religiously. If I'm entertaining, making cocktails for friends or looking for something reliable at a bar this is my go to.
However! For my top pick from Woodford Reserve I'm actually picking their rye whiskey.
The straight bourbon whiskey is excellent, but hear me out.
With dominant notes of spice and tobacco this rye just stands out for me against other ryes in terms of flavor, balance and drinkability.
I hadn't tried Woodford's rye prior to visiting their distillery operations but ever since then I keep a bottle in my whiskey inventory.
But don't just take it from me, try some for yourself!
Bourbon tastings at Woodford Reserve
If a full on distillery tour isn't your cup of tea fear not.
Woodford offers a bourbon tasting option that does not include a tour of their facilities. You'll still have the opportunity to check out their merchandise shop and view certain facilities on their campus.
This is a great options for visitors who are in a hurry or have multiple distilleries they plan to visit within a single day.
The tasting can be booked at Woodford Reserve's website here.
Looking for how to book a full on distillery tour? Here's a link to Woodford's offerings.
There are a few different options here that can be catered to the specific type of experience you're after.
True bourbon connoisseurs might consider the higher end option which pulls in one of their legendary master distillers as part of the tour!
Regardless of which option you're pursuing be sure to book your specific tour well in advance. Space is limited especially on some of the higher tier options.
Woodford Reserve Entry Cost
To enter the souvenir shop or bar area there is not an entry fee.
Individual tour and tasting costs will vary by option and you can review those here on Woodford's website.
How Long Does it Take to Visit Woodford Reserve
The bourbon tasting can take as little as 30 minutes while the distillery tours range from one to two hours depending on tier.
Be sure to budget some time for having a drink at the bar. And even if you don't plan on purchasing anything, the gift store is stocked to the brim with bottles of bourbon and cool merchandise you should at least browse through.
What is the best time to visit
While there is a bar on premise, the hours here might not be what you'd normally expect.
The distillery operates within more traditional business hours with the gift store opening at 9am and the bar opening at 11am. Both areas close at 5pm.
Be sure to check current hours directly at their website here before visiting.
Can I purchase food at their distillery
The Woodford grounds did not have any food offerings during our visit.
At this time visitors are not allowed to bring food inside either, but according to their website Woodford has some outdoor picnic areas where outside food can be consumed.
Does Woodford Reserve host events
Generally speaking you cannot host weddings, ceremonies, photography sessions or other events at Woodford Reserve.
Can I purchase souvenirs at Woodford Reserve
Woodford's merchandise store is filled with all kinds of quality Woodford branded merchandise.
If you're looking for gift ideas for a bourbon enthusiast be sure to check out some of the gift set options on Amazon:
From bourbon infused chocolates, Woodford branded bitters to different spirit sipping glasses. The merchandise store at Woodford Reserve has a little something for everyone.
My personal favorite is to pick up a pair of bourbon tasting glasses from each distillery I visit. What better way to enjoy a pour of Woodford straight bourbon whiskey than in one of their tasters?
Can I purchase bourbon at Woodford Reserve
Yes! Not only can you, but you should.
Did you really even tour Woodford Reserve if you don't leave with a bottle or four?
They didn't have any rare bottles available during my visit but you should definitely inquire ahead of visiting.
Depending on where you're visiting from this can also be a great opportunity to pick up a harder to find bottle of their double oaked, malt or wheat whiskies.
Do I need a reservation
Tours and tastings at Woodford are by reservation only.
The gift shop and bar area do not require reservations.
If you're looking for current hours or are interested in booking a tour check out Woodford's website.
A fun way to experience not just Woodford Reserve, but other distilleries, is to rent a bus and go as a group.
Don't forget to drink responsibly - plan your ride ahead of time!
What is the closest airport to Woodford Reserve
The closest airport for flying to this region is located in Lexington. Other viable options are Cincinnati or Louisville. Each are about 90 minutes away.
Be sure to read our guide on reducing airfare costs
One of those most unavoidable and dreaded travel costs is airfare.
Even if you budget carefully for food, accommodations and find budget friendly activities the cost of airfare can make many destinations prohibitively expensive.
But if you're a savvy traveler like me then you know there are ways to beat the airlines! I have a full post dedicated to all of the tips and tricks I use to pay the absolute minimum for airfare when I travel.