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Woodford Reserve Brings New Assistant Master Distiller Into Play

It’s been a busy year so far at the iconic Woodford Reserve bourbon distillery in Kentucky. We’ve seen the debut of a new limited edition batch proof offering as well as the release of the yearly Kentucky Derby artistic bottle, this time drawn by a Brown-Forman employee. Staffing has also been shifting, with word a new assistant master distiller has been brought in.

Master Taster Elizabeth McCall, according to Woodford Reserve, has been promoted to assistant master distiller, joining the ranks as one of the youngest distillers in the U.S. McCall, 33, has been a member of Brown-Forman’s Research & Development Department since 2009, and is the second generation of her family to work in the bourbon industry. She followed in her mother’s footsteps after earning her master’s degree from the University of Louisville by starting as a sensory expert.

As McCall continues to learn the art of being a distiller, she will work alongside current Woodford Reserve master distiller Chris Morris. It was not immediate clear if she might one day take over his role – a previous assistant distiller working with him, Marianne Barnes, left back in 2015 to take on the head distiller role at the big renovation distillery project known as Castle & Key.

“It has been the utmost pleasure to work with the Woodford Reserve team as Master Taster –and I look forward to continuing to elevate my skills and broaden my knowledge as we craft the world’s best bourbon,” McCall said in a prepared statement.

In her previous role as master taster she helped develop tasting notes for various Woodford Reserve expressions. Additionally, she worked to define the sensory standard to which every batch of Woodford Reserve must comply.

5 Sherried Whisky Alternatives

Here are my recommendations for those of you who want something sweet and luscious, but a little different in your glass this year. 

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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