Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Whiskey Wednesday: Woodford Reserve Four Grain

A couple of months ago, I posted about my Woodford Reserve tasting in which I sampled the entire Woodford catalogue except for the first edition of the Woodford Master's Collection: Four Grain. Well, a sympathetic reader shared a sample of the Four Grain with me.

Just to review, the Four Grain is a bourbon made from four grains: corn, wheat, rye and barley. Most bourbons use rye or wheat as the secondary grain, but this bourbon uses both. The sample I'm tasting is from the first batch of Four Grain, a smaller release of 3,404 bottles which stayed in Kentucky. A second, wider release would go national.

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Four Grain, Batch 1, 46.2% abv

The nose on this has what I've come to know as that distinctive Woodford, pot-stilled aroma. It's less medicinal than some of the other Woodfords and more metallic with some plastic notes. Not much bourbon sweetness on the nose but there is some rye spice. If the sweetness is missing on the nose, it comes out prominently on the palate, though it's more a generic sweetness than a corn sweetness. Next comes the rye and some of the metal, and then more rye with a bit of sourness and some pine. It tastes hot for the abv. The finish has a pleasant balance to it without any of the harsher notes.

I'd definitely place this as one of the better Master's Collection expressions, though that isn't saying much, and I should include the caveat that I don't know how this compares to the later batches of the Four Grain that saw wider release.

1 comment:

Regular Chumpington said...

Since I commented on the others, I'll add on this one.

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Four Grain (Batch 1) C
N:There's the distinctive thick nose which has the expected elements of marzipan and a hint of banana. It's a little sour and grainy, with an oily smell. There's a solventy, cleaner smelling thing happening too - a little Pine-Sol. It's kind of like a recently emptied grain elevator - definitely something metallic in the background.

P: Surprisingly a little thin on the palate. Again there's the oil and solvent, a little pine, funky rye note. Way in the back is a little vanilla, a little toffee, both trying to peek out. Not particularly warm and late there's a note of marzipan. It wants to settle on a little sweet note but there's too much to distract.

F: Dries out, shows a little wood and lasts reasonably long. There's some hints of caramel. It's also a little bitter. Some turbinado sugar for good measure.

Comment: The palate is completely chaotic to me. The sour nose and unrefined sugar makes it seem relatively young. The nose is a really unfocused, sloppy Woodford nose. As with the vast majority of the Masters Series, this is not an improvement.

In short, I still think the Seasoned Oak was the best of the bunch.