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95 points

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Four Grain, Batch #2, 46.2%

Batch #1, while a very good bourbon, didn’t quite seem to reach its potential. The flavors were there, but were not integrated and as cohesive as I would have hoped for in a four-grain, pot-distilled bourbon. Batch #2 has realized this whiskey’s full potential. The flavors I expect are all there, and they are more tightly integrated and polished. It really does taste different than any other bourbon on the market. I particularly enjoy its silky, creamy, nutty sweetness, which is balanced nicely with dry spice notes that peak on the finish. It’s very soothing and enjoyable. A whisky for bourbon and scotch drinkers alike.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2007)

91 points

Woodford Reserve Distillery Master's Collection Four Grain, 46.2%

The first four-grain, 100% copper pot-distilled bourbon in many decades. The flavors are distinctive, silky-textured, and seamless. Bright fruit notes of berries and citrus are balanced nicely by maple syrup, caramel and toffee. The whiskey is quite nutty too and delicately spiced with vanilla, mint, and cinnamon. It finishes pleasingly smooth and polished.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2006)

91 points

Woodford Reserve Frosty Four Wood, 45.2%

Think the holidays: nutmeg, butterscotch, cinnamon, gingerbread cookies, and saltwater taffy. Mouth-coating sensations down the jawline and palate roof. Caramel and vanilla follow it home to the finish, where out-of-nowhere black currant and blackberry jam linger to the very end. This is a fun sipper for those who love the barrel-finished style. (375 ml.)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2016)

89 points

Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select, 45.2%

The same mashbill as its sister brand Old Forester, Woodford Reserve is an unknown combination from Brown-Forman’s Louisville and Versailles distilleries. There’s no age statement, but Woodford is around 7 years old. The key here is balance. One note never overtakes the other; nutmeg, mango, baked apples, cinnamon, blueberry pie, and vanilla seem to walk in perfect harmony. Then we find the gingerbread, caramel, and vanilla jumping into layers of smoke and spice.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2016)

89 points

Woodford Reserve Double Double Oaked, 45.2%

Toasted oak, coffee, cola, molasses, and campfire smoke linger over a French bakery and baking spices that are both interesting and appealing. Then chocolate, hazelnut, and nutmeg dominate in a dessert-style treat that later introduces custard, banana cream pie, and candy corn. Almond butter appears for the long finish.(Bottled in winter 2017; Kentucky only)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2018)

89 points

Woodford Reserve 2017 Master’s Collection Cherry Wood Smoked Barley, 45.2%

A bourbon made with cherrywood-smoked barley in the mash. When chocolate and cherries meet, instant joy can only be improved with roasted nuts sprinkled on top. That’s what happens here. It’s all there in the opening round, followed by toasted oak, tangerine, pumpkin latte, caramel-covered popcorn, and more cherries, from jam to pitted dark cherries and maraschino to cherry fried pie. If you love cherries, this is a must-have.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2018)

88 points

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection “New Cask” 46.2%

A set of two 100% rye whiskeys, triple distilled in copper pot stills, with the difference between them being the type of barrels in which they were aged. One was matured in a new charred cask, while the other one was aged in a used cask. They are packaged in half-bottle sizes (375 ml) and sold as a set for $100. Dark in color and deep on the palate. Plenty of weight, too. A base of caramel, with warming cinnamon, persistent mint, brandy-soaked apple, tobacco, polished leather, and oak grip on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2012)

88 points

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection 'Seasoned Oak Finish,' 50.2%

The fourth in the series of limited-edition bottlings, and one of the better ones. The impact on the whiskey of finishing in barrels made with staves that have been seasoned three to five years really is evident here. There’s plenty of wood spice, and I think it goes well with the sweet pot still characteristics. On the nose, the flavors are nicely intertwined. But on the palate, the sweeter notes (caramel, nutty toffee, fig, ripe berries, black cherry) appear first, with the dry, spicy notes (cinnamon, clove, cocoa powder, vanilla, polished leather, maduro tobacco) building to a firmly dry finish. Perhaps the dryness on the finish overstays its welcome more than I would like. But still, this is a solid effort -- and quite distinctive!

Reviewed by: (Spring 2010)

88 points

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, 45.2%

Woodford’s first permanent line extension. Aged in two barrels with different toast and char amounts. More visceral than the standard Woodford Reserve, with a darker personality, extra wood spice, and a nice sweet foundation. Notes of cinnamon stick, dark berried fruit, roasted nuts, caramel, creamy vanilla, and polished leather.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2012)

88 points

Woodford Reserve Rye, 45.2%

Distilled from a relatively low-rye mash of 53% rye, 33% corn, 14% malt; true to Woodford Reserve form, a mingling of whiskeys distilled at Woodford and at Brown-Forman in Louisville. Nose of leather, cinnamon, rye snappiness, and hints of red raspberry. Hot and lean on the palate, spicy/sweet until rye’s bitter layering floats in, making for a dry finish as the oak comes on stronger. Balances drinkable and elegant quite nicely, and it’s real Woodford.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2015)

88 points

Woodford Reserve Blended Rye, 45.2%

This whiskey is bananas. Is it banana pudding atop vanilla wafers or warm Bananas Foster melting into vanilla ice cream? It’s hard to say, but the lovely banana-vanilla combination dominates until baked pears, pumpkin bread, rye, and baking spices appear. A medium to long finish brings a bright cherry note. Price is per 375 ml.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2017)

87 points

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection “Aged Cask” 46.2%

A set of two 100% rye whiskeys, triple distilled in copper pot stills, with the difference between them being the type of barrels in which they were aged. One was matured in a new charred cask, while the other one was aged in a used cask. They are packaged in half-bottle sizes (375 ml) and sold as a set for $100. Very pale in color, showing the limited oak influence. The used cask allows the rye to shine. An uncluttered whiskey, with fresh mint, soft cinnamon, creamy vanilla, hay, cut grass, and honeyed orchard fruit (green apple, pear, peach). Grassy finish. The more elegant of the two.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2012)

87 points

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection 1838 Style White Corn Bourbon, 45.2%

Fresh-shucked sweet corn on the nose, a wisp of hot clove spice, some fresh grassiness; a clean aroma. True on the palate, with a bit of fresh cob as well, and firm oak. Lean and a bit leathery in the Woodford style, but lighter in the mouth; is the lightness from the white corn? I like this; I tend to give Woodford a bit more latitude in these essays.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2015)

87 points

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Oat Grain Bourbon, 42.5%

The oak juts out a bit in this otherwise fresh and pleasant bourbon, where toasted oak meets cake batter, Honey Nut Cheerios, and porridge with pecans. It’s lacking much in the way of a ‘wow factor,’ but following the slightly tart fruit palate is a redeeming finish, balancing tasty apricot and bright citrus peel with drying oak tannins.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2019)

86 points

Woodford Reserve Straight Malt, 45.2%

This malt whiskey shows some maple syrup and honey sweetness, but its character comes from savory notes of earthiness and wet leaves. The easygoing palate offers some stone fruit and sweet overripe banana, like a banana cream pie with graham cracker crust. But the finish circles back to savory and herbal, suggesting youth. A creative, if peculiar choice for Woodford, crafted from 51% malted barley.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2018)

86 points

Woodford Reserve Bottled in Bond, 50%

Fairly light in flavor, with warm cereal and honey notes laced with aromas of green herbs, chamomile, and spearmint. Seems well-crafted, but the flavors are generally understated, offering gentle sweetness and fleeting glimmers of baking spice. Modest body and a touch hot on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2019)

85 points

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection American Oak, 42.5%

The nose is a bit hot and generally restrained, with dried leaves, earthiness, and waxy crayons. Light-bodied, very soft, and somewhat juicy. Stone fruit and grain flavors combine for an enjoyable peach-pie quality before the tannic finish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2019)

83 points

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Straight Malt, 45.2%

Much darker in color than the Classic bottling (also reviewed this issue), as is expected. The nose warns of a wood-whelmed whiskey: dark, bitter wood notes, with a caramel underlay. The mouth is much hotter than the Classic bottling, with bold oak spice in the front and a gooey caramel/toffee sweetness underneath…only it’s not as good as that sounds. It’s all rather one-dimensional, including the hot oak finish. An interesting lesson in wood, but not at $200 for the pair.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2014)

82 points

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Classic Malt, 45.2%

Two malts: same distillation run, same proof, but this one was aged in used bourbon barrels. The color is much lighter than the new barrel bottling (also reviewed this issue), a pale straw. Nose is delicate, notes of haymow planks, clover honey, fresh grain, and sweet orange peel. Somewhat pedestrian on the palate: sweet malt, dried hay, more citrus, and a touch of pepper, with a somewhat bitter finish. No real flaws, but no excitement either. Disappointing.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2014)

82 points

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Maple Wood Finish, 47.2%

Finished in toasted maple wood. I love the nose on this: complex notes of rum, golden raisin, maple syrup, nougat, polished leather, and warming cinnamon. The love continues on the palate, but toward the finish the flavors turn a bit aggressive (leather, tannins), which somewhat tarnishes an otherwise exciting, well-orchestrated whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2010)

81 points

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Sonoma-Cutrer Finish, 45.2%

Finished in pinot noir barrels. A very fruit-forward whiskey. I love bourbon, and I love pinot noir, but the wine influence is very intense and, to me, the flavors don’t integrate well. Cherries, red raspberry, and red currant dominate, along with a coating of caramel. Cinnamon and clove struggle to emerge from underneath it all. Sweet, fruity finish. Bonus points for uniqueness, but a bit overdone with the wine influence.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

81 points

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Four Wood, 47.2%

Aged in American oak, and then finished in maple, sherry, and portwood. The nose is intriguing and entertaining, but the palate loses me. At the beginning, it’s sweet to the point of bordering on cloying, and then there’s an emergence of flavors (wood spice, stewed fruit, caramel, etc.) that turns very busy and lacks integration. The flavors just don’t play well with each other. To me, the whiskey is trying too hard to impress and achieves the opposite.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2013)

81 points

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection 1838 Sweet Mash, 43.2%

Background on the Master’s Collection: this is the fourth of the 100% pot still whiskeys from Woodford Reserve in their Master’s Collection series (the previous being two different Four Grain releases and a Sonoma-Cutrer wine finish expression). All four have a common pot still character to them, and their flavors really expand most bourbon drinkers’ concept of bourbon. The second batch of Four Grain is still my clear favorite of the releases so far. It’s balanced and complex.
1838 Sweet Mash review: Burnt orange/amber color. Sweet, fruity, and spicy on the nose and palate. Notes of orchard fruit (peach, apple), golden raisin, bramble, and spice (cinnamon, evergreen, nutmeg, and clove) on a bed of sweetness (maple syrup and honey). It’s thick and viscous in texture and quite sweet on the front end of the palate, but dried spices and oak emerge mid-palate and rescue it. Long, spicy, resinous finish. I would rather the whisky didn’t go from predominantly sweet to mostly dry and gritty. I wish these two components were better integrated. If they were, I would have rated this whiskey higher.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2009)

79 points

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Sonoma-Cutrer Finish, 43.2%

This is pot still Woodford Reserve bourbon finished in Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay wine barrels. (It’s the second iteration in the Master’s Collection, following the Four Grain release.) The wine influence is immediately obvious-it is sweet and fruity on the nose and palate. Notes of caramel apples, toffee pudding, butterscotch, toasted pecan, and peach crisp. Polished oak finish. I’d like a little less sweetness-or a little more of something to balance it, like more dried oak spice.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

60 points

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Five Malt, 45.2%

Four barley types—two row, pale chocolate, kiln coffee, and Carafa—and malted wheat; aged 6 months in used Woodford Reserve Double Oaked barrels. Initial pungency and varnish. Then freshly-cut grass, petrol, wood shavings, and a slight hint of chocolate. New make mouthfeel. A hint of honey and milk chocolate is quickly overtaken by an astringent finish. In another few years, maybe this will become more palatable, but this is far from ready, and bourbon remains this distiller’s strong suit. 375ml

Reviewed by: (Fall 2016)


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