Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection 1838 Style White Corn Bourbon Review

Photo courtesy of Woodford Reserve

Photo courtesy of Woodford Reserve

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.

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

Woodford Reserve Sweet Mash Redux and Double Double Oaked Bourbon Reviews

Woodford Reserve loves experimenting with the different aspects of making whiskey.  These experiments usually culminate in a yearly Master’s Collection released every fall.  Some releases are just okay, while some are simply outstanding.  With the newly unveiled Distillery Series, Woodford Reserve wants to release more of their experiments.  As the name implies, this series is a distillery purchase only, at least for now.  Different expressions will be released several times a year in 375ml bottles with a $49.99 tag.  The first two releases are Double Double Oaked and Sweet Mash Redux.   According to the press release, here’s how the distillery explains the inaugural releases:


Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey Review


Woodford Reserve was the first premium bourbon I really enjoyed when I “graduated” from Jack Daniel’s.  I later learned Woodford Reserve is from the same family: Brown-Forman.  Brown-Forman owns Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve and Old Forester.  Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and Old Forester bourbon have been around forever, whereas Woodford Reserve came to market in the mid-1990s.

The minimalist bottle is easy to find on the shelves.  Master Distiller Chris Morris even gives us a batch and bottle number on the small tan label.  The ‘Labrot & Graham’ etched above the ‘Woodford Reserve’ on the bottle is the name the distillery was formerly known as many many years ago.

Coming in at 90.4 proof, Woodford Reserve has high rye content.  It’s evident on the nose, along with vanilla, toffee and caramel.  I get some of that rye spice on the palate.  There’s also caramel, maple syrup, cinnamon and light char.  The char comes on the back end.  The finish is medium and sweet.  Woodford Reserve has a lighter body than I’d like, but it carries an overall nice flavor.

I almost always have a bottle of Woodford Reserve on hand.  It’s nice neat, on the rocks and in an old-fashioned.  The brand promotes a Manhattan cocktail made with Woodford Reserve.  I haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t comment.  The old-fashioned cocktail I’ve made many times with this bourbon is quite tasty.  For $30+ a bottle, I’d recommend picking one up.  Keep an eye out for a limited edition bottle design close to the Kentucky Derby.