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Would you pay $2,000 for this Kentucky Whiskey?

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With the holidays (very) rapidly approaching, it’s time to start planning out those gift lists. Plenty of brands use the fall season to release brand-new products designed for the end-of-year holiday shopping rush, and spirits distillers are no exception.

That said, the newest, just-in-time-for-the-holidays 2020 bourbon from Woodford Reserve, created in collaboration with Baccarat Crystal, does feel pretty damned special. One major reason? It rings in at a suggested price tag of $2,000 per bottle. So what’s the story behind this high-dollar brown liquor, and why should big spenders take note? Read on to find out.

What Is Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition?

Woodford Reserve, a popular bourbon distiller based in Versailles, Kentucky, already has an excellent reputation for its flagship whiskey, which undergoes an aging process in charred oak barrels. The Baccarat Edition, however, contains an extra level of flavor and luxury, since it’s also finished for three years in XO Cognac casks made from French oak.

“Woodford Reserve’s Baccarat Edition is the ultimate finished expression of the finest Kentucky Bourbon.  The retired XO Cognac casks, all made in France from French oak, take fully mature Woodford in two directions.  First, the impact of the XO Cognac that saturates the wood highlights and intensifies Woodford’s existing notes of rich dried fruit, brown spice, and vanilla.  The oak itself serves to redefine Woodford’s natural sweet aromatic presentation into a more subtle and luxurious style.  The 3-plus years of finishing, with its additional angel’s share process, emboldens the pre-existing tree-and-berry fruit character.  So the Cognac barrels and finishing process do not add any new flavors to the Woodford Reserve — they make [existing flavors] more sophisticated,” explains Woodford Reserve master distiller Chris Morris.

How is Baccarat Crystal involved with this release?

An elite bourbon kissed with XO Cognac calls for a fancy bottle that will make an impressive display on any bar cart, and Woodford Reserve had no intention of settling for a standard-fare glass vessel. Instead, it partnered up with Baccarat, a heritage crystal brand based in France, and the Woodford Reserve team and the Baccarat artisans worked together to design a crystal decanter with gold-engraved logos. Each version is made by hand, and the process takes five full days to complete.

“Our input was pretty much universal across the allied team – brand and production – that the new Baccarat presentation be proprietary and reflect the internationally award-winning design of the [classic] Woodford Reserve bottle. We also wanted it to have clean, crisp lines so that the liquid it held would be highly visible. I think Baccarat did a fabulous job meeting those goals. It is stylish, sophisticated and simply elegant,” Morris says of the decanter design.

Where can I buy it?

This year’s release of Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition represents the second whiskey in this series; Woodford Reserve and Baccarat did collaborate once before in 2019. However, the 2019 version involved extremely limited distribution and could only be purchased at duty-free shops in select airports.

For the 2020 Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition, the distillery chose to expand its availability to non-duty-free retailers, including ReserveBar, an online shop for luxury wines and spirits, where the bottle can be purchased for $2,300.

You may be wondering: Who is the ideal client for a bottle of bourbon that costs more than twice the average monthly mortgage payment in the U.S.? Morris has a simple answer to that question, stating that “the ‘perfect’ consumer for a product like Woodford Reserve’s Baccarat Edition is someone who appreciates great flavor that is as subtly sophisticated as the bottle it comes in.”

Well, there you have it. If you love bourbon, appreciate a gorgeous decanter, and have a tall stack of $100 bills to spend, then Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition makes an ideal splurge.

Taylor Tobin
Taylor Tobin is a freelance food, drink, and lifestyle writer based in Brooklyn. She's contributed content to publications…
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