Saturday 26 April 2014

Shirt Bar "Scotch" Club: Woodford Reserve (March 2014) - Tasted #86 & #87

It was all the way back in November 2012 when we first blogged about Shirt Bar's Scotch Club (which, like this post, was all about Woodford Reserve and nothing to do with Scotch at all!) and when we first met Stuart Reeves, Brown-Forman Australia's NSW ambassador (whose immense knowledge of whiskey we've come to appreciate and whose friendship we've come to enjoy). Fast forward to March 2014, and Stuart was back at Shirt Bar, again spreading the good word of Woodford Reserve.

A few things seem to be guaranteed when Stuart takes the stand for a Woodford tasting: a lot of (great) whiskey, an astounding level of whiskey knowledge, at least one rare/unique/hard to find expression, a cocktail, and take-home goodies. This session didn't disappoint. On tasting was:
  • Woodford Reserve New Make
  • Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select Bourbon
  • Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Maple Wood Finish
  • Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Aged Cask Rye 
  • Woodford Reserve Master's Collection New Cask Rye
  • Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Four Wood
  • Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Classic Malt 

...not including the single-nip Woodford Old Fashioned to kick off the night, and the take-home DIY Old Fashioned bags (complete with 50mL Woodford Reserve minis, 3.5mL Angostura bitters minis and swizzle sticks - very handy on a recent weekend trip up the coast)!

Given we've tasted the first 5 whiskies above previously, notes below are only for those we hadn't tried - the Four Wood and Classic Malt.  Suffice to say the others were all as good as memory served, and Steph still didn't like the New Make...

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Four Wood (47.2% ABV, NAS, Kentucky USA, $250)
Produced by taking regular Distiller's Select at 7-8 years old, cutting it down to 55%, dividing into thirds and ageing in Maple (1yr), Sherry (6 months) and Port (6 months) casks.
Colour: Dark, vibrant copper.
Nose: Rich, berries, with a slight nuttiness.
Palate: Big creamy mouthfeel, definite sherry influence, but also very sweet. Definitely a Bourbon, with vanilla notes still showing through.
Finish: Long, with cherries and Christmas cake. Smooth to the end.
Overall: 92/100

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Classic Malt (45.2% ABV, NAS, Kentucky USA)
Made with 100% malted barley. Yes, a "Single Malt" from Kentucky, USA!
Colour: Light, straw.
Nose: Muted, playdough. Slightly earthy.
Palate: Light and buttery, hints of breakfast cereal (Nutri-Grain?)
Finish: Short to medium, with some rubbery notes. Smooth and easy drinking though.
Overall: 90/100. Certainly interesting, though not a whiskey I'd choose to spend $100USD+ on. The biggest disappointment however was that we're not getting the other Single Malt ("Straight Malt") in Australia!

 - Martin.

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