Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Brandy Cask Finish

woodford reserve brandy cask 1.jpg

Thank you to Brown-Forman who recently had a tasting event for some Toronto whiskey fans. We all had a great time, and you can read all about it here. Great write up /u/muaddib99

None the less, I’ve gone through quite a few Woodford Reserves, so most of the whiskies were me going back over all the offerings in one place. However there was a special offering there that I hadn’t had yet, and thus it was review time.

Each year Woodford Reserve takes some of their standard whiskey, which is triple distilled, aged in barrels that were dried longer than the industry average, and fermented twice the industry average, and finish it in a different barrel, or change up one aspect of the mashbill, or change the barrel aging time, etc.

None the less, this year they brought out Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Brandy Cask Finish, which takes the standard edition and finishes it in American Brandy casks from out in California, where I hear fornication is the currency and the ugly people are given tattoos and sent to Oregon.

I mention the above differences in Woodford Reserve because I never actually knew much about it. It’s a whiskey nerds whiskey. While I’m not 100% as to why they triple distill even though there is no unmalted barley, I can’t disagree with their methods. And have enjoyed some of the Master Series.

That said, the last two haven’t really perked my interest too much, as it was more grain focused, and as you all know by now, I’m an odd cask junkie.

Please note this wasn’t tasted in a Glencairn, however I don’t know when I’ll have the chance again, so I went for it.

So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?

Price: $129.95 CAD at the LCBO

Region: Kentucy

Cask Finish: American Brandy Casks

Abv: 45.2%

Colour: 7.5YR 7/12

Nose: Peach, grape juice, zucchini, violets, cedar, Skittles, banana, nectarine

Initial nose is quite fruit forward. At first I’m a little worried the brandy has taken over, however some of the earth starts poking through, and some floral and cedar parts tells me this is still whiskey.

You may not think it’s very bourbon forward. The banana, the cedar, and the nectarine at least are.

Taste: Maple, malt, biscuit, lime, lemon pie, bacon bites

Interesting. Where as the nose would make me think that the brandy is a little heavy handed, the taste is well balanced between the two. It starts almost like a Canadian whisky, and then… wait, did I lose you there? Okay, it’s maple. But don’t leave, that doesn’t continue too much.

It’s malt forward here. Lots of citrus. Takes even more time to really open up, and then there’s this nice bacon flavour. And who doesn’t like bacon?

Finish: Lime zest, buttermilk biscuit, cranberry/wood, pear rattler

Finish is more like what you’d expect from a bourbon again. Lime forward, good amounts of wood, each individual flavour is picked out easily. That’s not to say the brandy doesn’t have any last parts. The initial stone fruit/floral aspects are there again

Conclusion: An interesting whiskey, and one that I’m happy to have had. I feel that Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection gives them some wiggle room to try things not normally done in bourbon too often.

If you are looking for something that has big, individual flavours, a set profile, and the influence of virgin oak only, it’s not going to be for you. I feel that this could have been pulled a little sooner and still had a desired effect for people who are looking for that.

Instead they’ve gone for an interesting middle point. I think the taste is well balanced, the finish is nice with some surprises, and the nose is unbalanced. All in all a nice one, and I hope they continue to play with wine casks like this in the future.


Bourbon review #196, Kentucky review #123, Whiskey Network review #1121

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