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Newest Woodford Reserve Bourbon Went Through Cherry Wood Smoking

Now in its 12th offering, The Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection is this Kentucky distillery’s yearly entry into the higher end fall bourbon/American whiskey release cycle. Years past have seen some interesting releases emerge from this series, including last year’s brandy cask finished expression. For 2017 they’ve turned to messing with part of the mash bill to create a bourbon influenced by cherry wood smoking.

The new Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Cherry Wood Smoked Barley, according to those behind it, takes the normal malted barley portion of the flagship bourbon’s mash bill and modifies it by adding malt that’s been smoked with cherry wood during the kilning process. It is said to be one of the first Kentucky bourbons ever to use malted barley in this way and, at 30% malt content, has a higher concentration of this grain type then a traditional bourbon.

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Cherry Wood Smoked Barley

“We started this many years ago when we first established a bourbon recipe that contained a high percentage of smoked barley,” said Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris in a prepared statement. “By following our five sources of flavor philosophy, one dramatic change can have a tremendous impact on the flavor. In this case, a bourbon with a high malt recipe that has been smoked with cherry wood results in a bourbon unlike any other.”

Plans call for this new bourbon to become available in select markets in November. It is bottled at 90.4 proof and will price around $100. You’ll find tasting notes below for your consideration from Woodford Reserve.

  • Color: Rich amber
  • Aroma: A complex mingling of deep caramel, brown sugar and dark chocolate covered in a layer of cherry jam and nutty crumbles dusted with wood spice.
  • Flavor: Intense smoked almond and malt character sweetened with a cherry pie filling and a touch of caramel.
  • Finish: Long smoked almond notes fade into a rich cherry fruit jam.

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.

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