Classification: Straight Bourbon
Distillery: Woodford Reserve Distillery/Brown-Forman Distillery
Release Date: February 2023
Age: NAS (Aged at least 4 years based on TTB regulations)
Mashbill: 72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
MSRP: $130 (2023)
Brown sugar | Creme brulee | Fresh oak | Hint of raisins | Fain syrup | Dab of oatmeal | Really pleasing opening
Hint of tannic oak | Bland oatmeal with raisins | Dry cinnamon powder | Light baking spices | Dash of rye spice
Dry oak | Faint rye spice | Spiced raisins in syrup | Dash of green peppercorn spice | Light lingering heat
Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Historic Barrel Entry delivers a slightly elevated sip that struggles to justify its price tag.
The 18th release in the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection, each annual release focuses on a completely unique aspect from the one that came before it. For this year’s release, the company states in their press release, “This 2022 Master’s Collection was made with newly-distilled whiskey that went into the barrel at 100 proof. The barrel entry proof of ‘new make’ plays an important role in the maturation process, and the standard for barrel entry proof has changed over the past two centuries. The bourbon of the 19th century had a barrel entry of 100 to 103 proof, and after the repeal of Prohibition, barrel entry proof levels began to increase. The present barrel entry proof standard that was set in 1962 is 125 proof.” It should be noted that while the press release calls this their 2022 release, and the sample bottle sent to us has a release date of 11/11/22 written on it, the bourbon was not released to the market until February 2023.
The bourbon starts off with a wonderful nose showcasing lighter aromas that feel like they’ve mingled together perfectly over time. It elicits reminders of a dusty bourbon from the 70s. But the palate abruptly changes course, focusing instead on drier flavors with a prominent bland oatmeal with a raisin note. A mingling of various light spices caps off the sip, with a pleasant warming heat before gently fading. While Historic Barrel Entry delivers a slightly elevated sip compared to the standard Woodford Reserve and is well-composed, the asking price doesn’t match the overall sip. For those who are fans of the series or the brand overall, this will be a subtle but pleasant hit, for everyone else though, the asking price may be a bit too steep.