Woodinville Straight Bourbon is made in Washington and the distillery is one of LVMH’s (Glenmo and Ardbeg) latest acquisitions. It’s fairly common for large companies to snatch up smaller ones that are doing well, and it’s become quite a prevalent process in the whiskey world lately, but this acquisition left me a bit… stymied.
Why would LVMH go all in on a brand that wasn’t massively known, well distributed (available only in WA until now) or highly sought after? Depending on who you ask you’ll get a slightly different story, but what it seemingly boils down to is they see potential and they want to get in at the ground floor. Which makes sense, it’s much cheaper to buy it now than if it became a Balcones, Corsair or High West, but the big question is… how’s the whiskey?
Woodinville Straight Bourbon Review: Details and Tasting Notes
In Woodinville’s Words: Woodinville Straight Bourbon
“This truly small-batch bourbon starts with traditionally grown corn, rye and malted barley. All of our staple grains are cultivated exclusively for us on the Omlin Family farm in Quincy, Washington. The grains are mashed, distilled, and barreled in our Woodinville distillery, then trucked back over the Cascade Mountains to our private barrel houses, where Central Washington’s extreme temperature cycles promote the extraction of natural flavors from the oak.
Prior to being coopered, the barrel wood is seasoned in open air, rain, wind, sun, and snow for eighteen months, softening the wood’s harsh tannins. The barrels are then slowly toasted and heavily charred to further enrich the wood’s desirable flavors. This meticulous process yields a truly hand-crafted spirit with aromas of crème brûlée and spice cabinet, as well as notes of rich caramel, dark chocolate, and vanilla bean on the palate with a sweet, lingering finish.”
Woodinville Straight Bourbon price, ABV, age and other details
Region: Washington, USA
Mash Bill: 72% Corn, 22% Rye, 6 % Barley
Cask: New Charred Oak
Age: NAS (5-6 years)
Woodinville Straight Bourbon Tasting Notes
Brown sugar, vanilla, herbal, spice and an overall candy sweetness with a bit of raw wood / saw dust, banana and nuts.
Tropical fruit, brown sugar, spice, vanilla, herbal, raw wood and a light bit of nuts.
Medium -> Oak, caramel and vanilla.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Ok balance, medium body and a light feel.
Woodinville Bourbon Review: OVERALL
I can see the promise that LVMH sees in the Woodinville Straight Bourbon. I don’t think it’s there yet, it currently smells and tastes like a decent, young craft bourbon with layers of spices and sweets getting a bit tamped down by a dose of that “craft” oak profile that smells and tastes a bit like sawdust that often is a result of using small barrels.
Taking a look at their site they have used 8-gallon and 53-gallon barrels for sale which is interesting because they claim to only use the 53-gallon ones for these releases. So what bourbon release do they use the 8-gallon on? It’s an odd disconnect there. Now, if they’re not using any 8-gallon barrels in these releases and it’s all 53-gallon and aged for 5-6 years per the claim then it might be tasting not-quite-fully-matured due to the cooler temperature of Washington vs Kentucky.
If the barrels don’t expand and contract as much as they do in Kentucky, due to KY’s wild yearly temperature swings from the long hot summers to cold winters, then Woodinville might need to age even longer to mature out that “raw wood” aroma and flavor. Regardless, if this is where they’re starting I can’t wait to see where they go over the next couple of years.
SCORE: 80-82/100 (B-, not consumed at home)
Woodinville Straight Bourbon Review
- Nose - 80
- Palate - 81
- Finish - 80
- Balance, Body & Feel - 80
Woodinville Straight Bourbon Review Summary
Woodinville Straight Bourbon is ok, but that young craft wood profile is just so darn heavy.