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Eagle Rare vs Woodford Reserve Bourbon Compared (2024)

Eagle Rare vs Woodford Reserve

Last Updated on March 5, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Eagle Rare and Woodford Reserve are two mid-shelf bourbons, and bourbon enthusiasts will agree that these bourbons can be your everyday pour.

But which one is better? 

Is the ten-year maturation an advantage for Eagle Rare? Does Woodford Reserve Distillery’s great reputation in crafting bourbons make their bourbon better?  

Here’s a comprehensive comparison of Eagle Rare vs Woodford Reserve. Scroll for more. 

Woodford Reserve & Eagle Rare Comparison 

Eagle Rare and Woodford Reserve Bottle on table

Eagle Rare straight bourbon whiskey is aged longer than Woodford Reserve.

On the other hand, when it comes to alcohol proof, Woodford Reserve boasts slightly higher alcohol content. 

Both bourbon whiskeys are well-lauded for their amazing tasting notes; however, if you are new to drinking bourbon, Woodford Reserve is a pleasant and beginner-friendly bourbon whiskey. 

Eagle Rare has remarkable tasting notes, so it is not surprising that it is more expensive than Woodford Reserve. 

How They Compare 

 Eagle Rare 10-Year Straight BourbonWoodford Reserve
Alcohol Proof9090.4
Age Statement10 yearsNAS
PalateSmooth, dry, and bold, with rich oak flavors, almonds, cocoa, caramel, and vanillaRich and smooth with complex cinnamon, cocoa, citrus, and caramel
ColorMedium rusty orangeBrilliant honey amber
NoseComplex aromas of orange peel, leather, honey, toffee, oak, and herbsRich dried fruit with hints of oranges, cocoa, tobacco, vanilla, and mint
FinishLingering, dry, with notes of tobacco, leather, and oakSmooth, creamy, with a warm, satisfying tail
How It’s ServedNeat and on the rocksNeat

Woodford Reserve Bourbon 

Production & Maturation Process

The Woodford Reserve Distillery

Woodford Reserve starts with a mash bill of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley, which undergoes a fermentation process with its proprietary yeast strain. 

After the fermentation process, Woodford Reserve undergoes a careful batching process of distillation in pot stills and column stills. 

Then, Woodford Reserve is matured in newly charred oak barrels for at least six to seven years.

Aging in oak barrels helps develop its color and flavor profiles [1].  

Availability 

Woodford Reserve Bottle , Glass, Pitcher and Lemon on Table

Woodford is widely available in local liquor stores and online stores.

Unlike other bourbon distilleries, Woodford has a product locator that you can check on its official website. 

It will help you find liquor stores stacked with Woodford expressions, so you don’t have to waste so much time finding a bottle. 

Price Point

Woodford Reserve is cheaper than Eagle Rare, which makes sense because Eagle Rare aged longer than Woodford. 

A 750ml bottle of Woodford costs roughly $39.99 in Drizly online liquor store, but the price may vary in other local liquor stores near you. 

Fun Facts 

Woodford Reserve Wooden Barrels
  • Woodford Reserve is a flagship bourbon from Woodford Reserve Distillery, a National Historic Landmark built in 1812.
  • The distillery uses locally grown corn from Shelby County and water from Glenn’s Creek naturally filtered with limestone. 
  • Woodford Reserve Distillery uses a heat-cycled warehouse to monitor the maturation process closely. 
  • It is owned by Brown-Forman Corporation, which owns Jack Daniel’s, Old Forester, and many more. 

Eagle Rare 10-Year Straight Bourbon 

Production & Maturation Process

wooden barrels on a rack

The Eagle Rare mash bill recipe is not disclosed to the public, but this expression uses the Buffalo Trace Mash Bill No.1, which is a low rye mash bill (less than 10% rye) [2].

After fermenting and distilling it, it is masterfully aged in newly charred oak barrels for ten years. Every barrel offers a consistent flavor but with individual personality. 

It is aged gracefully, so the oak hits harder, packed with more tasting notes than Woodford Reserve. 

Availability 

Eagle Rare KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey on wooden table

Eagle Rare can be harder to find than Woodford Reserve. Since it is a highly sought-after bourbon brand, there is a rise in demand for this expression. 

“Easily one of the most tactile yet assertive and expressive bourbons I’ve tasted in the last two years; fasten your seatbelts.”

-Paul Pacult, Author & Beverage Alcohol Consultant

However, you can find some inventories at a reasonable price in local liquor shops and online stores like Drizly and Total Wine

Price Point

Eagle Rare is more expensive than Woodford Reserve. In addition, you can find bottles of Eagle Rare at ridiculous amounts (secondary market) as it is a high-demand bourbon. 

You can snag a 750 ml bottle of Eagle Rare in Drizly online for around $50. 

Fun Facts 

close up shot of distillery equipment
  • Eagle Rare was a single barrel, but in 2012, the distillery installed an automated bottling line and removed “single barrel” labels. 
  • Eagle Rare barrels are handpicked to ensure consistency in quality and taste. 
  • Eagle Rare was initially launched by Seagrams in 1975 and was acquired by Sazerac in 1989.  

FAQs Related to Eagle Rare vs Woodford Reserve

What are the differences between Eagle Rare and Woodford Reserve?

Eagle Rare and Woodford Reserve are both bourbon whiskies, but they have distinct flavor profiles and aging processes.

Which bourbon is smoother, Eagle Rare or Woodford Reserve?

The smoothness of bourbon can vary based on personal preference, but some find Eagle Rare to have a smoother finish compared to Woodford Reserve.

Is Eagle Rare or Woodford Reserve more affordable?

Eagle Rare and Woodford Reserve are typically priced similarly, but prices can vary depending on location and availability.

Does Eagle Rare or Woodford Reserve have a stronger flavor?

Both Eagle Rare and Woodford Reserve have robust flavors, but some may perceive Woodford Reserve to have a slightly stronger flavor profile due to its complex aging process.

Which bourbon is better for sipping neat, Eagle Rare or Woodford Reserve?

Both Eagle Rare and Woodford Reserve are excellent choices for sipping neat, as they offer unique flavors and smooth finishes.

Can Eagle Rare be used as a substitute for Woodford Reserve in cocktails?

Yes, Eagle Rare can be substituted for Woodford Reserve in cocktails, but it may impart a slightly different flavor profile to the drink.

Which bourbon has won more awards, Eagle Rare or Woodford Reserve?

Both Eagle Rare and Woodford Reserve have received numerous awards and accolades for their quality and craftsmanship.

Is Eagle Rare or Woodford Reserve more widely available?

Availability can vary depending on location and distribution, but generally, both Eagle Rare and Woodford Reserve can be found at well-stocked liquor stores.

What are some key flavor notes in Eagle Rare and Woodford Reserve?

Eagle Rare is known for its rich caramel and vanilla notes, while Woodford Reserve often exhibits flavors of toasted oak, caramel, and spice.

What type of whiskey is Eagle Rare?

Eagle Rare is a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery; its classification as a straight bourbon indicates that it meets specific legal requirements, including being aged for a minimum of four years in new charred oak barrels, giving it the distinctive characteristics associated with bourbon, such as a rich flavor profile and a higher percentage of corn in the mash bill. The ten-year aging process further contributes to its complexity and sets it apart as a premium expression within the bourbon category.Top of Form

Final Verdict: Eagle Rare Vs Woodford Reserve

Eagle Rare is more flavorful and satisfying than Woodford Reserve.

Woodford Reserve is a decent bourbon, but the tasting notes are not remarkable or unique- just a typical average bourbon.  

Eagle Rare is more mature and has rich tasting notes that can give you a solid drinking experience from nose to finish. 

Woodford Reserve is a solid pour, especially for novice drinkers, but Eagle Rare is a better choice if you are after the better bourbon. 

References:

  1. The Effects of Aging on Liquor
  2. The Complete Guide to Every Buffalo Trace Whiskey
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