Greg Rixen and Dustin Steiner with Master Distiller Chris Morris – Woodford Reserve

In August of 2018, Happy Harry’s was one of eight invited guests to attend a special blending seminar with Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris in Dallas, Texas.  At this event we had the unique opportunity to randomly select three barrel samples and blend our own special batch of Woodford Reserve for our customers.   

The evening started with with flavor wheel tasting/exercise to highlight the numerous flavors that are typically found in Woodford Reserve.  Woodford Reserve has over 200 detectable flavor notes.

Top right, clockwise: Parmesan Cheese, Fig, Orange, Hazelnuts, Sorghum Syrup and Dried Cranberries

Woodford Reserve Flavor Wheel











Next, guests drew numbers to determine the order of selecting barrel samples.  One by one, we selected three random barrel samples which would eventually end up in our custom blend.  The only information we were given was the alcohol percentage of each sample.  Each barrel sample was very unique and revealed different aromas and flavors when compared to each other.








Here are some our tasting notes for each of the samples:

Barrel #1578 –  One of the most herbal Bourbons we have ever tried!  The nose had amazing aromas of Eucalyptus, Mint and Anise.  Slight butterscotch sweetness on the tip of the tongue.  Huge flavor explosion of black pepper and more spice followed by a long finish.

Barrel #1564 – Much more barrel and wood notes in the aromas.  The flavors of caramel and toasted almonds were more evident on the palate versus the herbal notes of Barrel #1578.  The spiciness of the Rye overpowered everything on the finish… it was 134.4 proof before we added a few drops of water!

Barrel #1529 – The nose revealed hints of vanilla, cloves and oak.  Flavor started off with sweet caramel and hints of brown sugar.  After the sweet notes settled, the influence of the toasted barrels and spicy Rye slowly took over and left a long, pleasant finish.  This was our favorite stand alone barrel sample.

The next step of the process was blending the barrels.  Only two samples went into each blend resulting in three new samples: 1578/1564 (Blend A), 1564/1529 (Blend B) and 1578/1529 (Blend C).  The blends were measured to be equal portions from each barrel.  After another round of tasting and notes, our selection was obvious….it had to be Blend A or as it is now known…Happy Harry’s Batch #1.  Our selection was then taken back to the distillery, blended, proofed down to 90.4 proof, and bottled in Liter bottles.

Happy Harry’s Batch #1 Tasting Notes

AROMAS: The nose is highlighted with sweet spices and candied cherries.

FLAVORS: Cinnamon and clove flavors are prominent along with hints of toasted caramel and malted barley.  The flavors continue to expand as the Bourbon rolls over your palate revealing bitter dark chocolate and pecans. The finish lingers and leaves an faint aftertaste of black licorice.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Anyone who prefers a high Rye mash bill will love this Bourbon!  Even if you do not love a spicy Bourbon, the amazing balance of of this blend is inviting to all Bourbon lovers.  Happy Harry’s Batch #1 is perfect for sipping neat, over ice or in your favorite classic cocktails like the Manhattan or Old Fashioned.









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