In the early 1800s, Oscar Pepper (owner of Woodford County Distillery) and master distiller James Crow refined bourbon-making techniques such as sour mashing, copper pot distillation, yeast propagation, and the maturing of whiskey in charred oak casks. For the past 13 years, Kentucky–based distillery Woodford Reserve has honored that legacy with the limited-edition Master’s Collection bourbon series. For the first time ever, Woodford Reserve’s master distiller Chris Morris is now releasing two separate expressions within the collection.
The 2018 Master’s Collection Select American Oak Kentucky Bourbon ($129) has a slightly spicy, nutty flavor that comes from being matured in Ozark oak barrels. The medley of aromas includes vanilla, milk chocolate, walnut, pecans, and marzipan. A hint of peach and cocoa powder are evident on the palate, and the long, warm finish has a welcome touch of wood spice. The expression will be available both internationally and in select U.S. markets.
The 2018 Master’s Collection Oak Grain Kentucky Bourbon ($129) mimics the traditional flavor grain in pot still Irish whiskey by including oats in the grain recipe and minimizing the rye content. The aroma of the four-grain recipe is influenced by the barrel’s oak flavor (think fresh-sawn, toasted, charred notes). The subtle aroma also contains notes of caramel, cinnamon, and peppermint spice with a dash of orange zest. Delicate notes of grain and oak evolve into a fruity apple peel flavor with a hint of orange peel. Caramel and peppermint build at the end. The long finish has hints of apple and orange dusted with cocoa. It will be available within U.S. markets only.
To celebrate the dual release, Woodford Reserve is partnering with Polo Ralph Lauren to give bourbon aficionados the chance to taste the new varieties at a private invitation-only fashion event at the company’s Manhattan flagship.