Seasoned Oak Finish was the fourth offering in the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection, a series of products focused on innovation and craftmanship. Other expressions include a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir finish, Maple wood finish, Four Grain, Rare Rye selection and others.
The Master’s Collection whiskies are completely triple distilled in pot stills, whereas the normal Woodford Reserve also includes some column distilled Old Forester whisky in the mix.
The key to this Seasoned Oak is 7-8 years of regular maturation with an extra 8 months in finishing barrels, made with staves that have been seasoned 3-5 years instead of the normal 3-5 months. As the rough oak staves are exposed to seasonal weather changes and subsequently dried, they develop new aromas along the way.
Although initially meant to be a one-time release in 2009, it seems it is now made in small batches.
Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection – Seasoned Oak finish (50,2%, OB +/- 2015)
Nose: I love it. Of course it’s woody, but in such a nice waxy / varnished way, with plenty of maple syrup and toffee. Vanilla. The combination of cedar wood and spices are quite exotic. Hints of Morello cherries. Big cinnamon notes, as well as mint and pepper.
Mouth: sweet start on cherries, plums and treacle. Then a cinnamon heat sets in, with cocoa and leather. Some tobacco and anise. Towards the finish, a slightly astringent woody note comes through, in between metallic and medicinal notes. Oolong. Clove and caraway.
Finish: very long, dry but not excessive, with this mentholated note holding strong.
I think this is a superb bourbon, very intense and complex, with a “tailored” woodiness rather than just extensive ageing, if you see what I mean. It does leave enough room for sweetness and roundness as well. Expensive though: around € 150 on this side of the ocean. Rather hard to get.