Woodford Reserve

Review: Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition

Photo courtesy of Woodford Reserve

2020 is almost over. Let me repeat that: 2020 is almost over. Sigh. I don’t know about you, but retail therapy was certainly present in my household this year. This rang true in two areas: guitars and whiskey. Did I really need to buy all those guitars this year? Of course not. I’m not even skilled in guitar playing. But whiskey, that’s something entirely different. I have an established whiskey blog that’s almost seven years old. So, it’s my job to buy lots of whiskey. At least that’s what I tell my wife.

So, if you’re in a 2020 non-stop buying spree or are in the market to buy a gift for the whiskey lover in your life “who has everything,” this release from Woodford Reserve might be up your alley.

Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition is now available stateside. Yes, that’s the same Baccarat known for their fine crystal. Available previously as a travel retail exclusive, Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition sees the Kentucky Bourbon finished in XO cognac casks for an additional three years.

Before I get to the tasting notes, I should mention the Baccarat crystal decanter is one of the loveliest I’ve ever seen. No surprising considering it is made by Baccarat.

The nose is loaded with dark fruit and baking spice as well as dark caramel and some oak spice. On the palate, the 90.4 proof whiskey ensures easy drinking. Don’t conflate “easy drinking” with “not complex”, because this bourbon blossoms nicely. The traditional Woodford Reserve notes – caramel, vanilla, spice – are complemented by ripe plum, oak spice, and tobacco. The medium-long finish carries a fruity sweetness that’s usually associated with cognac.

What a decadent release from Woodford Reserve! Bourbon whiskey and cognac casks play well together. Flavors and aromas complement each other beautifully. Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition is available for an SRP of $2,000. This release is Woodford’s attempt to place bourbon on the same playing field as older, expensive single malts despite not carrying an age statement. It certainly holds its own in aroma and flavor, though the majority of the cost here is going to be that beautiful crystal decanter. Do NOT pass up an opportunity to try this one if the opportunity ever presents itself. You’ll be thankful you did.

Thanks to Woodford Reserve for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Brandy Cask Finish Review

Image courtesy of Woodford Reserve

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.

Woodford Reserve Distillery Series – Frosty Four Wood Bourbon Review

Photo courtesy of Woodford Reserve.

Photo courtesy of Woodford Reserve.

The third entry in Woodford Reserve’s Distillery Series is Frosty Four Wood, following Double Double Oaked and Sweet Mash Redux.  The trend seems to find the distillery revisiting previous editions of their Master’s Collection.  This is great for folks that didn’t get to taste a previous releases of earlier Master’s Collection expressions.  Case in point: I never had a chance to taste the original Woodford Reserve Four Wood.  At least with this release I get to taste a variation of it.

Frosty Four Wood gets its name from its flavor influences, namely barrel finishing.  Fully matured Woodford Reserve is put into three different cask types: maple, sherry and port.  This secondary maturation lasts a few months.  The barrels are then blended together and bottled.  The frosty part of the name comes from the Polar Vortex of 2013.  The original Master’s Collection Four Wood was exposed to the low temperatures, causing flocking, or mineral precipitation.  The distillers used a filtration technique that resulted in a fruit-forward flavor profile.

The nose is rich and fruity.  Dried fruit, sweet oak, and slightly burned toffee are the key players here.  I’ve never smelled so much fruit in a bourbon.  That fruit-forward profile also carries over onto the palate.  In addition to being the dominating flavors, dried berries and citrus provide richness here.  Cloves, corn, vanilla and toffee develop mid-palate.  A spicy yet slightly drying oak shows up for the medium finish.

I like this one.  It’s an interesting take on the Woodford Reserve profile.  The port, sherry and maple cask finish really give this bourbon a fruit-forward, rich profile, which is not how I would describe the standard Woodford Reserve expression.

(Note: A review sample was provided by Woodford Reserve.)