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

Price: $90.00 Issue: Summer 2009 Reviewer: John Hansell

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.