I haven't been very flattering to the Woodford Reserve Master's Collection in the past. While I applaud the experimentation and find them interesting, many of the ones I've tried had have just not clicked for me as an enjoyable drink. Because of that, I've tended to stop buying the Master's Collection releases. $100+ is a lot for one drink you will be extremely interested in and the rest of the bottle that you don't know what to do with.
But I should step back for those of you who haven't been reading every post for the last six years. What is the Woodford Reserve Master's Collection?
Every year, Woodford Reserve releases a new, Limited Edition whiskey under the Master’s Collection name. Each release is an expression of curiosity and experimentation. Woodford likes to tout its “five sources of flavor: (water, grain, fermentation, distillation, and maturation).” In each release of the Master’s Collection, they change one of those five things. Previous years have mostly included changing either the grain (making it a rye whiskey, a malt whiskey, using a different type of corn, etc) or the maturation (mostly the addition of barrel finishes), plus there was also a sweet mash fermentation instead of the typical sour mash. In other words, this is their chance to mix things up and give you an appreciation of what each part of the process can do.
A couple of years ago, I said:
"I’d love to see them come out with a version where they change out the water. Not because I’d want to buy it, necessarily. But I’d love to see every pundit on the internet explode when they release the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection: Bardstown Water edition for $100."
Well, earlier this year, Woodford kinda did just that. Only instead of getting a different water source to cut their product to proof, they just didn't cut the proof down at all. It's an interesting change. And I decided I need to jump back in and give this one a try.
Not that I didn't have to do a little fast talking to convince my wife of the soundness of my plan. See this sounds as if it is going to be a yearly release so jumping on it at that exact moment in time probably wasn't high on her list of things that needed to happen. Plus it's a little more expensive than their typical Master's Collection releases. And by a little, I mean it's $130 for this release. But in the end, she relented since she's just as curious as I am about these things.
Woodford Reserve Master's Collection: Batch Proof (2018)
Purchase Info: $119.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Binny's Beverage Depot, Bloomington, IL
Details: 62.9% ABV
Nose: Caramel, Vanilla, green apple and a hint of charred oak.
Mouth: Thick mouthfeel. Very sweet with a nice spicy heat. Vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Finish: Warm and long with lingering vanilla and cinnamon.
Thoughts: This is very good. Warm and thick with a wonderful sweet spiciness. I love this one. Don't love the price and doubt I'll be buying another, so I'll just enjoy this one and see if I can make it last a little while.
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