Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection 1838 Style White Corn

Thanks to /u/devoz for this sample.

I like it when things buck the trends. Perhaps it’s some callback to watching 6 days worth of SLC Punk, perhaps it’s because I was picked on because I was geeky, perhaps it’s media getting into my head that an underdog is always the way. Perhaps I looked at too much counter-culture in my life.

Whatever the reason, I am drawn to it. Personally, if a distillery isn’t trying new things they come up short. Which brings us to the elephant in the bourbon room: Woodford Reserve.

Each year a Master’s Collection comes out. And I take notice because they are trying something new. Not many distillers will finish something in a new cask, or switch up the mashbill. Well, there are some special editions however most of the time in bourbon the different big releases are driven by an age statement.

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection 1838 Style White Corn is a different idea. Or an old one. Use white corn in the mashbill as they did in the 1800s.

But maybe we’re drinking better now. Or maybe this is just different, which as the guy who tried to sell me a car with square wheels will tell you isn’t always better. How do we find out? Let’s dive in, shall we?

Price: $100

Region: Kentucky

Abv: 45.2%

Colour: 10YR 4/6

Nose: Peanut butter, peach jam, compost

Fruity, sweet. Pretty standard, nothing too odd. There’s a strong vegetal note, bit creamy. It seems to be missing some vanilla or oak, however, perhaps it’s just a shy nose due to the lower abv.

Taste: Stale peanut, chlorine, salt, butter

I’m now at the not-so-happy-panda stage. The initial flavour has this stale vegetal note, there’s a strong chemical note, and the only flavours that aren’t punching me from jewels-to-jowls are simpler butter and salt notes.

I’m almost wishing for the simpler nose at this point.

Finish: Chlorine, melon, peanut, old peach, earth

Wow, more old notes, chemical, generic aspects, and earth. It’s almost like Xmas if I happened to be celebrating in Roman times and really wanted to pet a lion in front of a crowd.

Not great, in other words.

Conclusion: Like all the stuff you get from fermented foods but none of the good flavours. Painful, ugly, and somehow still chemical. This is flat out rough. Yes, there’s some different fruit coming from here, but for the price and everything else they’ve remade a simply bad entry-level Scotch, at best. At worst they’ve made something rough.

The worst part, beyond this whiskey being a special edition and still being released? Some good notes in there. Something interesting pops up that makes me drink it again thinking maybe, just maybe I’m missing something or water will help. But nope, just compost all the way down.

This one is a skip, unless you somehow need to collect all fo the master collections, because you’re insane.

40/100

Bourbon review #261, Kentucky review #169, Whiskey Network review #1867

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