Learning to Taste at Woodford Reserve Bourbon Distillery

Friends Drift Inn Farm – How to Taste Bourbon

Exploring the Flavor Wheel with Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Slowing Down to Savor
The Secret Pleasures of Bourbon

Thanksgiving is upon us, and I am scurrying to prepare for the crowd of eighteen. I’ll work for three days getting everything perfect, and in less than an hour the meal will be devoured and just another entry in the record books.

Food and spirits are best savored slowly with relish and forethought.

I hope this year I can slow my guests down; lingering over each course and stopping to actually taste the buffet I place before them.

As a food writer, I am challenged to describe food – it’s texture, its flavors, it’s finishes. I am a progress in work.

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Flavor Wheel

Chef Ouita Michel, the Chef-in-Residence at Woodford Reserve Bourbon Distillery, reviews the flavor wheel profile at each of the culinary presentations held at the distillery. I have attended two; one with chef Jeremy Ashby and Ouita’s Women of Woodford Holiday Entertaining. Each time, I have picked up subtle nuances and formed new flavor memories.

Chris Morris, Master Distiller, created one side of what Woodford refers to as “The Flavor Wheel.” The visual explains the components that contribute to bourbon’s symphony of traits. Water sources, varieties of yeasts, combinations of grains, the still, the barrels, and the environment all influence the final flavor profile.

On the flip side Ouita expands the thought process further to understand how foods compare and contrast with Woodford Reserve Bourbon.

For the lesson, each guest receives a small plate with a variety of food flavors including Parmesan Cheese, dried fruits, nuts, and sorghum. Ouita shares what a trained palate experiences, as we sample a sip of Woodford between each offering.
Woodford Reserve Bourbon plus makings for bourbon cocktails

Cheese, it has a lactic acid that coats the mouth. Nuts, they bring an earthiness. Notes of sweetness follow samplings of fruit. Sorghum brings complexity of flavors sweet grain, dark and mysterious. For citrus, nothing beats Woodford Reserve Bourbon…..trust me on this. Long before I met Chef Ouita, I discovered the best Brown Derby Cocktail Recipe is made with fresh grapefruits and my culinary standby Woodford Reserve.

Descriptors rush to the forefront, as one closes their eyes placing all attention of flavor as it slowly journeys over the palate. Buttery, oaky, nutty and sweet come to mind. Then there are spices, notes of blackberry and peach, with hints of caramel and tobacco. The symphony is a masterpiece!

This Thanksgiving, I hope you slow down and find the flavors. Just stop for minute, close your eyes and taste the possibilities. Bring a little bourbon to the table……it’s amazing what you can discover!

Disclaimer I was admitted as a member of the media, but paid for my meal and drinks. If you were wondering, the lovely lady pictured above is Rhoda my friend, my confidente, and my gracious assistant.

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More Bourbon Ideas
Smashing Pumpkin Cocktail Recipe with Bourbon
Brown Derby Cocktail Recipe
Inn Step with Chef Ouita Michel
Apple Cider Bourbontini Cocktail

About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.