Autumn means one thing for the folks at Woodford Reserve – the release of a new Master’s Collection. For this year’s release, Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris played around with grains, in this case, corn. In a throwback and homage to legendary whisky makers Oscar Pepper and James Crow, Morris is utilizing white corn instead of the traditional yellow corn. Pepper and Crow used white corn back from the late-1830s to the 1850s. Additionally, according to the press release, Morris was able to “develop and bring to life a recipe Pepper and Crow might have used.”
Nosing this bourbon, I can immediately tell this isn’t the standard Woodford Reserve. I get sweet corn grits and what seems like a young oak note – similar to what I get on some craft whiskies. All over a bed of toffee and ginger snaps. The whiskey is slightly spicy upfront, with buttered corn and lemon pudding dominating, followed by a touch of toffee. The finish here is all black pepper, and becomes dry rather quickly. The body here feels a bit thin, especially for a 90.4 proof bourbon.
I always applaud experimentation. Sometimes it works. Other times it doesn’t. However it is always interesting. This year’s Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection can best be summed up as interesting. Don’t go into it expecting a Woodford Reserve-like bourbon. It’s different and interesting, but I think it might take some folks time to fully warm up to this one. Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection 1838 Style White Corn carries an SRP of $99.