Woodford Reserve Bourbon isn’t manufactured, it’s crafted. In the same spirit of artisanal perfection, the brand teamed up with the culinary masters of Rockpool Dining Group — to bring a unique “Barrel to Banquet” Tasting Dinner to a “small batch” of us.
Imagine our excitement knowing Chef Neil Perry had curated a four-course feast — fashioned to accompany an intimate tasting of Woodford Reserve’s three craft whiskeys, within the art-deco walls and ceilings of the opulent Rockpool restaurant.
The bourbon lovers’ feast was hosted by Woodford Reserve ambassador Thalita Alves, who says, “Woodford Reserve is wonderfully complex and well balanced… People are often surprised that whiskey pairs so incredibly well with a wide variety of dishes, the complexity of the bourbon with the food can take you on a unique ride.”
And what a delightful epicurean adventure we had. The menu itself featured five parts, intended to represent and enhance the five sources of the Woodford Reserve bourbon flavours: wood; grain; sweet aromatics; spice; and fruit and floral. For example, for “wood”— we were served slow roasted lamb shoulder basted in Woodford Reserve Double Oak, along with a Woodford Reserve Macadamia and Walnut ‘Old Fashioned’ cocktail, to accentuate the wood flavour. For the “fruit and floral” flavour profile, Rockpool presented charcoal roasted scallops with orange gremolata crumb, paired with Woodford Reserve’s Distiller’s Select, chamomile syrup, mandarin and lemon.
The artful flavour complexities of the Woodford Reserve Bourbon and Rye was spectacularly showcased in every offering; each inventively paired with a complimentary dish, or accompanying matching cocktail. We each sampled three small-batch whiskeys. Among these, was a limited-edition personal selection — created by Rockpool COO, Frank Tucker. Tucker went to Kentucky in 2018 to work with Woodford Reserve’s Master Distiller, Chris Morris and Master Taster, Elizabeth McCall — and crafted his very own personal batch of whiskey, now on the menu at Rockpool.
My guest and I left the restaurant blissfully satisfied, and with a new-found appreciation for the finest world-quality Bourbon. You’ll be glad to know Rockpool are offering the “Barrel to Banquet” dinner series for the 3rd and 10th of April. And if you’re not there for the full spread, grab some friends for an after-work tipple, or a Woodford Reserve infused dessert. Trust me, the combinations are to di(n)e for.
Jill is a Sydney-based journalist who drinks by the logic: it’s five o’clock somewhere. Follow her on Instagram.
The collaboration runs from 1 April to 30 April at Rockpool Bar and Grill in Sydney. For more information, visit their Facebook Page.