Skip to main content

Woodford Reserve Adds a Wheat Whiskey to the Distillery’s Core Range

In 2018, Woodford Reserve added a straight malt whiskey to its core range, joining the ranks of Bourbon, Rye, and Double Oaked. A year later the momentum continues, as the distillery just announced another new permanent addition: Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey. By definition, wheat whiskey must have a mash bill of at least 51% wheat. In this case, the whiskey, created by master distiller Chris Morris, is made up of 52% wheat, 20% malted barley, 20% corn, and 8% rye. What that amounts to is a soft, sweet whiskey with some butter and grain notes, and just a whisper of spice.

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey
Woodford Reserve

The wheat whiskey category should not be confused with the wheated whiskey category, which includes bourbon brands like Maker’s Mark that use wheat as the secondary grain instead of rye to give the whiskey a mellower flavor profile. The ridiculously expensive Pappy Van Winkle and WL Weller are other well-known wheated bourbons, both of which are made at Buffalo Trace from the same mash bill. But the actual wheat whiskey category is pretty small in comparison. Heaven Hill’s Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey, a 7-year-old whiskey first introduced in 2005 (initially without an age statement), is one of the older modern examples in the category. Colorado’s A.D. Laws has its Triticum Straight Wheat Whiskey, a 3-year-old spirit made from 100% Colorado-grown wheat, and Ohio’s Middle West Spirits has a 3-year-old single cask Straight Wheat Whiskey made using soft red winter wheat. There are a few others, but wheat whiskey is but a blip in the greater whiskey world.

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey Bottle
Woodford Reserve

According to Chris Morris, the point of releasing this new whiskey is more about the concept and less about a trend. “Woodford Reserve’s Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey is not focused on being a part of any specific whiskey segment or category,” he said. “Instead it completes our Five Areas of Whiskey Flavor presentation concept. Our bourbon is completely balanced across the Five — sweet aromatics, spice, fruit, grain, and wood. Woodford Rye is spice forward, Double Oaked highlights sweet aromatic, Malt is all about grain and oak, while Wheat allows the Woodford Reserve fruit character to shine through.”

Woodford’s Straight Wheat Whiskey does not have an age statement, but given that it’s labeled as straight, it’s at least four years old (“straight” means the whiskey is at least two years old, and it must list its age if it’s aged for less than four years). This new expression also means that Woodford Reserve can now claim to have a straight whiskey in every category defined by the post-Prohibition Federal Alcohol Act of 1935 – corn (bourbon), rye, malt, and wheat.

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey is bottled at 90.4 proof and retails for $34.99.

Editors' Recommendations

Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker is a freelance writer who covers booze, travel, food, and lifestyle. His work has appeared in a variety of…
Seattle’s Copperworks Distilling Drops the Country’s First Salmon-Safe Whiskey
Farmer Nathan in the field holding a bottle of Copperworks Distilling's single malt, salmon-safe whiskey.

Farmer Nathan in the field holding a bottle of Copperworks Distilling's single malt, salmon-safe whiskey. Copperworks Distilling

Whiskey comes in all shapes and forms. In Japan, it’s spelled 'whisky,' in Scotland, it’s Scotch, and in the Pacific Northwest, it’s now salmon-safe. 

Read more
Scotch vs. Whiskey: All You Need To Know
Pouring a glass of whiskey

The first thing you need to understand when we talk about scotches versus whiskey, is that all Scotches are whiskies, though not all whiskies are scotches. If you are learning how to drink whiskey, knowing the difference is fundamental. That’s the easiest way to remember how that works. But why? Well, for starters Scotch is made in Scotland. Also for naming's sake, whiskeys are for American and Irish-made whiskies. Whisky is for Canadian, Japanese, and Scottish whiskies.

Scotch is hugely popular, even though in 2020 the Scotch Whisky Association said the industry “lost a decade of growth” as sales fell 20% due to high tariffs from the U.S. and Europe and the pandemic. Still, the industry exported £3.8 billion, which made up for approximately 75% of Scottish food and beverage exports.

Read more
Metallica Fuses with Willett Distillery to Create an Exclusive Rye
Blackened's Rob Dietrich (left) and Willett Distillery's Drew Kulsveen relax behind a bottle of the pair's new rye whiskey.

Blackened's Rob Dietrich (left) and Willett Distillery's Drew Kulsveen relax behind a bottle of the pair's new rye whiskey. Michael Persico

Even the most hardcore of whiskey connoisseurs may have yet to experience Blackened American Whiskey’s exclusive new taste injection: Thrash metal.

Read more