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Whisk(e)y Reviews

November 2020

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Woodford Reserve Four Grain Whiskey

Woodford Reserve has been on a bit of a roll lately. The Chocolate Malted Rye from the Master's collection received a lot of attention. Then, the Double Double Oaked of the Distillery Series was highly sought after. More recently, the Batch Proof, also of the Master's Collection, won some glowing reviews. Sadly, I have not had the opportunity to try any of those as they are very limited releases which become terribly difficult to find outside of Kentucky.

The Distillery Series is a set of three annual releases. 2020 has already seen the Double Double Oaked and the Five Wood. So, it was with great surprise that I found out that I would be receiving a sample of the latest Distillery Series release, the Woodford Reserve Four Grain Whiskey. This whiskey, a blend of Bourbon, Rye, Malt, and Wheat whiskies, was to be released in honor of Bourbon Heritage Month. As with the other releases, it is only available at the distillery and in some limited number of Kentucky retailers.

 

Given that I am a fan of craft whiskey, and generally the spirit of experimentation, I was really interested to see what Woodford would produce with a four grain blended whiskey. Blended whiskey generally does not have the best reputation, but you can find plenty of excellent Blended Scotch and other blended whiskey if you know where to look. Now, what did Woodford produce?

 

Notes:

 

  • No Age Statement

  • Distilled, aged and bottled by Woodford Reserve Distillery, Versailles, Kentucky

  • Blend of Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Rye, Malt, and Wheat whiskies

  • Bottled at 45.2% ABV (90.4 proof)

Nose:         85/100

Toasted oak and buttered popcorn greet you immediately. A wonderful and not overpowering floral, perfume scent follows. A touch of cinnamon and anise sit in the background. After some time, graham cracker appears, as well. Subtle but delightful.

Palate:        82/100

Light and slightly warm. Popcorn and cinnamon dominate. Dry oak provides a solid foundation. Anise hides in the background again, along with the graham cracker.

 

Finish:        85/100

 Tart oak leads, with sweet cinnamon right behind. Anise sits in the background, with the graham cracker again. The finish lingers and transforms into a bit of caramel apple.

 

Overall: 84/100

Recommendation:

Must Try!

 

This really should be a "buy it now", but it is a limited release that most people outside of Kentucky will not be able to get. However, blended whiskey is notoriously difficult to do well and Woodford has produced a truly wonderful whiskey. You can discern all of the components that went in, but this is a case where the sum is greater than the parts. I was concerned when I found out I was getting a sample of this. I like Woodford Reserve Bourbon, but it is just pleasant to me. I do like when distilleries try different things, and this is a great example of how good a blended four grain whiskey can be. I really hope they bring this whiskey into their regular releases.

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