Woodford Reserve's New Bourbon

Woodford Reserve's New Bourbon
Courtesy of Woodford Reserve

Reviews of the distillery's recent Master's Collection releases from our whiskey critic. 

Many people consider Woodford Reserve to be a relatively easy-drinking bourbon, despite its higher proof, 90.4, which is a couple of steps above Jim Beam, Evan Williams and Wild Turkey. The fact that Woodford isn't 80 proof is one reason people enjoy it so much. For 2022, Elizabeth McCall and Chris Morris will mess with their tried and true formula for the Master's Collection series, which means batch size and proof.

118.4 is the proof rating of this batch of about 100 to 120 barrels of Woodford Reserve Batch Proof. In other words, these barrels have been blended together at cask strength, and this is the average strength that resulted. Woodford Batch Proof does have a lower ABV than past Batch Proof releases, but that's just how the barrel char crumbles. The mashbill is the same as regular Woodford, so it's all about scale and ABV.

Although the proof is still high compared to classic Woodford and many other bourbons, this mellower one is welcome. As you take a sniff, the nose is definitely hot, with honey, grapefruit and even some ripe cherry lingering. Essentially, Woodford's palate is all about baked apple, vanilla pudding, milk chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, and burnt orange, all swirling around in harmony.

The higher proof dampens some of these notes and enhances others, as noted on Morris' "Flavor Wheel.". 


Superfans of Woodford, mostly, those who wish to try this particular bourbon brand at a much higher ABV than usual, are what this whiskey is for. In addition, it is a good, solid bourbon, but perhaps not one to chase on the secondary market for more than $129.99. It will be available to purchase at select retailers later this month after it becomes available at the Woodford Reserve distillery in Versailles, KY.

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