Woodford Reserve Five Wood bottle

Woodford Reserve officially releases Five Wood; Buffalo Trace opens for tours July 1

Since I’ve got nothing better to do at the moment than take a deep nosedive into the numerous private bourbon groups online, I’ve known about the new Woodford Reserve Distillery Series release, Five Wood, for about a month now.

The little bottles have been popping up on liquor store shelves, and the ravenous whiskey warriors (myself included) have been snatching them up quicker than Lysol wipes.

But alas, I received an official press release from the Woodford folks today about the product, and I truly can’t wait to try it.

Woodford Reserve Five Wood bottle

Five Wood!

As you know, the Distillery Series is an experimental line of bourbons and whiskeys from Woodford Master Distiller Chris Morris that is released a few times a year. The infamous Double Double Oaked is part of that series, and it’s the only one to this day that continues to be released once a year.

The others are one-off concepts Morris has tinkered with in his mad scientist laboratory, like the Five Wood. So where does the name come from?

Well, basically, Morris took some mature Woodford Reserve bourbon (which is aged in oak barrels), then finished that juice in four other barrels: an Oloroso Sherry barrel, an Amontillado Sherry barrel, a Ruby Port barrel, and a Tawny Port barrel.

I’m no math wiz, but those four barrels + the original oak barrel = Five Wood.

“This is the first time in Woodford Reserve’s history that we’ve blended whiskeys that have been finished in five different barrels,” said Master Distiller Chris Morris in the press release. “The result is a rich taste and a bright finish.”

The finishing process is nothing new in the bourbon world, as many brands have similar experiments on the market, including Angel’s Envy, which is based strictly on finishing straight Kentucky bourbon in sherry casks. But, as Morris noted, it is a new concept for Woodford — as far as the number of different barrels it is finishing its bourbon in.

I have not yet tasted the Five Wood, but I plan on doing that ASAP. I cannot confirm nor deny I own a bottle, but you better believe I’ll be posting the tasting notes once I get a taste!

Until then, Morris has shared his tasting notes with me:

Woodford Reserve Distillery Series – Five Wood Taste Notes

Color: Deep Black Cherrywood

Aroma: An intense medley of rich blackberry, dark cherry, dates, raisin, prune and red fruit

reduction notes sweetened with Damara sugar and caramel-coated walnuts. Dark

leather, oak and black licorice spice develop slowly.

Taste: Rich dark chocolate and espresso coffee caramel icing coated with a raspberry and cherry reduction.

Finish: Long, mouthwatering rich red fruit brightened with a drop of orange oil

Five Wood is now available to purchase online and pick up from the distillery every Friday. It retails for $49.99 for a 375 ml bottle.

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Buffalo Trace reopens July 1

Buffalo Trace Distillery

The Buffalo Trace Distillery is a beautiful experience. | Courtesy of Buffalo Trace

Slowly but surely, Kentucky distilleries are opening up for public tours. Included in the early bunch are Evan Williams, Heaven Hill, Barton 1792, Copper & Kings, Wilderness Trail, Bardstown Bourbon Co. and a few others. Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, Ky., is the latest to announce its opening date, which is Wednesday, July 1.

Of course with COVID-19 measures in place, things will be slightly different in this new time, including smaller tours, advance registration, and limited access to distillery operations.

According to a news release, Buffalo Trace is opening its newly expanded Visitor Center, which triples the size of the original and will allow ample space for the Gift Shop and new expansive tasting rooms.

“We are taking every step we can to address the health, safety and comfort of our guests to ensure the best experience possible,” said Homeplace Development Director Meredith Moody in the release. “Our goal is to create a safe haven for all visitors while providing the same rich history and experiences for which we’re known. We can’t wait to reopen to the public and show guests our expanded Visitor Center and tasting rooms.”

There’s a short list of guidelines for those looking to tour the distillery starting July 1:

  • Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
  • Advance registration required online.
  • Access to grounds and the playground only available to registered visitors.
  • New safety and sanitation protocols in place, including guests must wear face masks.
  • All tours remain free.
Woodford Reserve

New releases: Batch Proof, Barrel Proof and bourbon-battered beer

Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy your bourbon collection as it now stands, along come more damn releases — but that’s a good thing! Right?

Batch Proof
Woodford Reserve

Courtesy of Woodford Reserve

First up, Woodford Reserve is releasing another limited-edition Batch Proof, which is up slightly in proof from last year’s first-ever Batch Proof release (123.6 vs. 123.3). Hey, we’ll take what we can get, right! I thought last year’s was incredible, so I’m excited to try this one on for size.

“Most people do not get to experience Woodford Reserve at such a high-proof presentation, so we are honored to share this special bourbon with the public,” said Master Distiller Chris Morris in a news release. “The intensity and depth of flavor found in Woodford Reserve Batch proof is truly remarkable.”

Thanks, Chris. Now I really need to try it!

According to the release, some flavor notes include rich raisin, brown sugar, “spicy leather character” (huh?) and cedar wood. Sounds like Grandma’s old closet to me.

Regardless, this is going to be great stuff. It’ll retail for $129.99.

Barrel Proof
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Photo by Sara Havens

Next up, it’s the 2020 release of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof (A120), at a whopping 136.6 proof! Each year, the Barrel Proof starts trickling out to thirsty bourbon fanatics, and it has garnered top accolades throughout the years, including Whisky of the Year.

This is bourbon in its purest form, you all! The only thing they do to it after dumping from the barrel is filter out the flecks of char.

It’s uncut, 12-year-old bourbon that packs a punch as well as a fascinating flavor that you just can’t put down. It’s hot, it’s sweet, it’s sticky. It’s what you’d taste if you found yourself in a rick house with a long-ass straw.

This usually retails for around $60-$70.

Bourbon-aged beer

And finally, Angel’s Envy is preparing to launch a barrel-aged beer program called “Angel’s & Ale,” and its first partner in crime is Against the Grain.

Angle's & Ales

Courtesy of Angel’s Envy

Apparently, AtG created a Belgian Quadruple Ale that was aged for three to four months in port barrels formerly used to finish Angel’s Envy core product.

While the beer will be available for the entire month of March at AtG, they’re having a kickoff party on Feb. 28 at the Angel’s Envy Distillery, just right across the street from AtG. And more good news: They’ll be announcing additional “Angel’s & Ale” collaborations throughout 2020.

Can’t wait to try this brew out, as I’m curious how much flavor resonates from a used port barrel that has aged bourbon for a few months.

Cheers!

Woodford Master's Collection

Say what? New Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection is Chocolate Malted Rye Bourbon

Woodford Master's Collection

I knew you were trouble when you walked in. | Courtesy of Woodford Reserve

There’s gotta be someone looking down on me, because this new release from Woodford Reserve has my name all over it! The latest in the brand’s Master’s Collection is a concoction called Chocolate Malted Rye Bourbon, and it comes out THIS MONTH!

You had me at chocolate. You had me even more at chocolate malt. The fact that it’s a high-rye bourbon just seals the deal. And you thought I was hard to get?

Tell me more, Chris Morris!

“The rye malt was roasted to a level that its natural sugars caramelized into a dark chocolate note,” Morris said in a news release. “This special bourbon even surprised me as it matured in our warehouses. Each time I tasted it, the chocolate notes became even more pronounced.”

It must be something if the master distiller is enticed!

The Master’s Collections come out twice a year — in the spring and in the fall. This bourbon is proofed at the Woodford standard of 90.4 and retails for $129.99. Of course it is highly limited, as it is a one-time-only release.

According to Morris’ tasting notes, the flavor notes include roasted rye grain, dry cocoa nibs, a dark chocolate spice, and a soft mocha character atop a layer of cherry fruit and toasted oak.

I can’t wait to try it!

• • •

Coming soon: A Halloween edition of Tasteless Tastings … I promise! Keep your eyes peeled this week, girls and ghouls!

Today’s Reason To Drink

WR_DDO_060415

I envision the Double Double Oaked being double double the trouble.

Woodford Reserve just announced it’s making a Double Double Oaked as part of its Distillery Series. Literally my heart fluttered and I gasped like Oprah had just entered the room. I could divulge other sordid details about my body’s reaction, but I’ll spare you.

I absolutely love the regular Woodford Double Oaked — in fact, it’s one of my favorites. But to create a Double Double? I can’t even begin to wrap my tongue around what that’s going to taste like. Sweet. Spicy. Smooth. Layered. Delicious.

In the press release, this is how they explain it:

Double Double Oaked is the result of finishing mature Woodford Reserve Double Oaked for an additional year in its second, heavily toasted lightly charred new oak barrel. The extra year in the barrel creates a bourbon that is distinctly spicier than its original counterpart, known for its sweeter taste and finish.

The catch here is you can ONLY purchase the Distillery Series (there will be three releases a year, and the other, a Sweet Mash Redux, is coming out with Double Double Oaked) at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles. The two straight bourbons are $49.99 each and will be available later this month.

I’m actually heading to the Woodford Distillery in a couple weeks as part of a media excursion to try these very releases. I will definitely report back with sordid and juicy details of everything I swallow. You’re welcome.

Woodford Reserve releases new Master’s Collection finished with pinot noir

WRMC Pinot FinishI’ve always heard that you shouldn’t mix your spirits when drinking — if you want to avoid a hangover. I also heard that politicians never lie, love always prevails and Texas men will buy you beer for free. I call bullshit on all of it. And so does Woodford Reserve, which is releasing its new Master’s Collection next month that will feature its signature bourbon finished with California’s Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir.

Because this Woodford is aged/finished in a used red wine barrel instead of a new charred oak barrel, we Kentuckians know that it’s no longer bourbon — just a whiskey, but a whiskey I’d love to get my hands on and sample!

The new Master’s Collection was created through a partnership between Woodford’s master distiller, Chris Morris, and Sonoma-Cutrer’s wine director, Mick Schroeter.

“Our Master’s Collection has long been a favorite of mine to produce, as it gives me the chance to focus on and experiment with our five sources of flavor, one of the core attributes of Woodford Reserve,” says Morris. “The Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Finish allowed me to partner with Mick to develop a product that is particularly exciting, both for fans of Woodford Reserve and Sonoma-Cutrer.”

Schroeter points to the commitment to ingenuity that is constant throughout the history of both whiskey and wine.

“Both wine and whiskey are born out of a commitment to a craft that both pays tribute to tradition, and is inspired by a love of innovation,” he says. “Chris and I are excited to offer a spirit that brings the best of both categories to life for fans of the brands.”

The Master’s Collection will be available around town beginning in November. But with a price tag of $99.99 for a bottle, I’m hoping I can find it in a bar or from a generous friend.

You know where to find me!