Is Woodinville Straight Bourbon Whiskey a good choice to gift to a bourbon connoisseur?

My sister’s husband very much enjoys and has an impressive collection of bourbons. For Christmas we got him a bottle of Iron Fish bourbon, which is aged in casks that formerly stored maple syrup. It had good reviews online and seemed like a bit of a unique addition to his collection, On the plus side, he didn’t already have it. On the minus side, he seemed a little put off at the maple syrup cask thing, saying he wasn’t a big fan of flavored bourbons. But any maple overtones were extremely subtle, and he pronounced it good, if a bit unenthusiastically.

So tomorrow they’re having us over for the Fourth to BBQ and swim in their pool. I decided to try to do one better in the bourbon gifting, and asked the owner of the corner liquor store if he knew bourbon, to which he asked “is the Pope Catholic?” I took that as a strong yes. I told him my BIL’s favorite go-to bourbon was Woodford Reserve, so I asked what bourbons are comparable and maybe even a little off the radar of a bourbon collector.

After going through a few options, we settled on Woodinville Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Did I do good? One review I found online had what sounded like a very favorable description of the nose, mouth and finish, but only gave it a score of 2.75 / 5.

Just asking out of curiosity- it set me back a decent chunk of change and I’m not a big bourbon drinker, so he’s getting it whether he likes it or not. He can always use it for bourbon mixers if it falls short of his full approval…

Honestly, if someone did not receive my gift of bourbon with at least a moderate level of enthusiasm and gratitude, that would be the last time I bought them bourbon.

Maybe get him a barbecue apron and a set of tongs instead.


Yeah, I wouldn’t bother with another pricey bourbon that he likely would just turn his nose up at again.

*betting that if he hadn’t known the previous bourbon was aged in a cask formerly used for maple syrup, he never would have realized that it was “flavored”.

I’ve never drank that one, but the mash bill is similar to Woodford Reserve, though with a little more rye and a little less barley (same corn), so it should be in the same general range (as opposed to something like a wheated bourbon,) That said, when I was drinking all sorts of spirits, I’d appreciate anything, and in particular anything I’ve never had before. I personally like getting gifts of stuff I’d never buy for myself. But any gift would
be appreciated.

I would say you did fine with your gift.

Yeah, and that makes me wonder if he’s as much of an aficionado as he thinks he is.

I didn’t mean to portray my BIL as ungrateful for the Christmas Iron Fish bourbon. He was plenty gracious in receiving it. My feeling that he was less than impressed with it was more me reading between the lines, and maybe even misinterpreting; he said it was a very good bourbon. Also in general he’s a great and very generous guy, so let me set the record straight there.

Also, his comment that he wasn’t a big fan of flavored bourbons wasn’t after tasting it, it was when he first read the label. It was more like, “I’m usually not a big fan of flavored bourbons, but let’s see what we have here.” And on tasting it he said it was very good and any maple overtones were extremely subtle.

Appreciate the replies so far!

Just treat it as being in the spirit of adventure. My son likes good Scotch so whenever I see something that looks interesting I grab it for the next festive occasion. Like you, I don’t know anything and am just trusting reviews or other people’s opinions. Some he likes more than others but that would be true whatever I bought.

Back when I was drinking a lot of scotch, a guy I know bought me a huuuuuge bottle of cheap scotch. He was impressed by the size of the bottle.

I thanked him effusively, and eventually drank the entire bottle, but not neat or up as was my wont.

Understood. You are a good friend.

And the Iron Fish sounds awesome to me (my birthday is in March, FYI).


My brother and SIL are serious wine enthusiasts.

But I never buy them wine. I do, however, buy them a gift card to their favorite wine store from time to time.

Years and years ago, I dated a clothing and jewelry designer. She cautioned me to never buy her clothing or jewelry. I mean … her tone was so overtly hostile that I assumed there’d be some form of draconian punishment associated with any transgression on my part.

I like to support people’s hobbies, pursuits, passions, and interests, but – unless I know as much about it as they do, and as much about their take on it as my own – I tend to steer toward the generic (ie, money) :wink:

Salud !

I consider myself as somewhat of an expert of everything Woodinville. I have been to the distillery at least 10 times. I have been lucky enough to get a couple of their small batch expressions. They don’t show these on their website, they are announced through their newsletters. A good choice would be one of their single barrel bourbons, always good and a higher proof and almost always available at the distillery. Another good choice is their barrel select bourbons available at Total Wine stores.

Guys, some interesting stories here, and again I appreciate the replies, but the direction of the thread seems to be turning into “buying (X) for someone who is snobby about (X), and they are underwhelmed”. And I really didn’t mean to portray my BIL that way. Again, he accepted the gift graciously but I suspected, perhaps wrongly, that he was less than highly impressed.

I really just wanted to see if anybody had an opinion on the titular bourbon in my OP. @pulykamell gave a good answer, and I thank you for that.

ETA: just saw @racer72’s post. Thanks! So, Sounds like you give Woodinville a :+1: then?

It’s currently my Friday night special pour. If your recipient likes bourbon, he will love Woodinville.

Excellent, thanks!

Oh, good. Vey relieved to hear it was just your fear of underwhelming him.

See, this is the place! Whatever it is, someone knows all about it.

My kids know I love bourbons, and will even ask “So, umm… Dad… if someone was going to get you a whisky in the $20-50 range…”

But my daughter just texted me from Scotland: “Peaty or smooth?” so I may be getting a belated Dad’s Day present…

BTW, Woodinville is down the road from me, although I have never been to the distillery. I have had several bottles though and it is a fine bourbon in the price range.

FYI, sold out to Moet Hennessy about 5 years ago so no longer one of the little guys if that matters: Woodinville Whiskey Out of Washington Acquired By Moët Hennessy - The Whiskey Wash

I have a hard time reacting to gifts, and it’s a big character flaw I’m very aware of. Maybe he’s in the same boat.

Either way, I think you did well. If I’m giving a gift of spirits or beer, I try to find something that’s niche, particularly if it’s a geographic niche (I.e. I stopped by New Glarus on my way through Wisconsin and picked up some Spotted Cow for you).

I like the idea of a gift card to his favorite shop - or better yet, get your own liquor store in on it. Go back, tell him the Woodinville was a big hit, and to please keep an eye out for interesting small batches in the $X range for you.

So, BIL said it was good, and it wasn’t a brand on his radar, so successful gifting, I’d say.

Eh, that sucks, I thought I was gifting a bourbon from a small niche distillery. The article does say the two friends who founded it are still overseeing operations though, so I guess that’s something.

Good ideas Munch, thanks!

Wow, talk about going directly to the source! :smile:

digs, You’ve clearly raised a smart, classy and thoughtful daughter!

You probably already know this, OP, but for future reference, my understanding is Pappy Van Winkle is one of bourbon’s Holy Grails.

I don’t imbibe, but a few folks I trust have reiterated this in my presence.