The annual Master’s Collection release sees Morris playing around with different aspects of the whiskey making process. Most notably, he’s utilized secondary maturation, or finishing, with different barrels. The eleventh entry in the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection might just be my favorite of the past several releases. It starts as fully matured Woodford Reserve bourbon that sees a two-year second maturation in American brandy casks. The company is quick to point out this release isn’t a bourbon, but a finished whiskey. Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris says, “Among Woodford Reserve’s many flavors include fruit and spice notes which the brandy emphasize. Both products showcase rich, intense vanilla notes from their barrel maturation making the combination of the two a true success.”
The wonderful nose features hints of cream soda, caramelized sugar, berries, and madagascar vanilla bean with a touch of sweet corn in the background. It’s a departure from the standard Woodford Reserve style, feeling a bit rounder and more vanilla-heavy. The palate follows the nose rather closely, with rich cream soda, berries and caramel. There is a slight anise note, along with cinnamon spice and drying oak. The finish is medium length, and features light brown sugar, vanilla and astringent oak.
As I wrote at the beginning of this post, this year’s Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection release is my favorite of recent releases. I think the synergy of the spicy bourbon and fruity brandy cask work beautifully. It’s rich cream soda-like flavor is something I rarely get in a bourbon, and when I do it’s not as intense as it is here. Its bottled at 90.4 proof and costs about $100 a bottle. Very nice. 8.5/10
Thanks to Brown-Forman for the sample! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.