Easing into one of the cosy, copper-roofed booths at the Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar is a sure-fire way to unwind after a long day. Even more so when it’s with a steady supply of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, pegged as the ultimate bourbon for modern whiskey connoisseurs.
The salty caramel bourbon can be enjoyed neat as an “occasion whiskey” or mixed by skilled bartenders such as Tom Vernon, brand ambassador for Woodford Reserve, America’s oldest and smallest distillery. Over the years, Woodford has produced award-winning bourbon and honed its skills in eking out the best flavour from the five sources of the bourbon-making process: water, grain, fermentation, distillation and maturation.
The “Double Oaked” name refers to the unique two-stage maturation process which uses two barrels to yield a rich, smooth and well rounded whiskey. The bourbon begins life as fully matured Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select before being transferred into a second, heavily toasted, charred barrel, which imparts a distinct rich, caramel quality and adds further layers of bold flavour. The amber liquid matures for a full year in the second barrel, over which time it takes on notes of dark fruits and hazelnut.
Tasting the finished product, there is sweetness to start with, before a pleasant dryness can be picked up on the sides of the tongue thanks to the wood treatment. Flavours of toffee, cinnamon, liquorice and even leather meld with spice and rye.
The bourbon shines in cocktails such as The Pinewood, a hybrid of a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned. Dry Italian vermouth enlivens the rich, smooth flavours of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked and the whole palate is stimulated with sweet pineapple spirit, smoked salt and a dash of bitters.
35ml Punt E Mes
Dash, Angustura Bitters
5ml Smoked Salt and Pineapple Syrup
Stir down and serve straight up with a twist of orange
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, is priced at £50 per bottle, available from Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols, The Whisky Shop (in-store and online), plus any Hawksmoor.