Woodford Reserve has announced its latest Master’s Collection release, and the oldest whiskey released yet by the brand: Woodford Reserve Very Fine Rare Bourbon.
This new, limited expression also comes in a redesigned bottle.
The bourbon includes liquid from barrels 17 years old that date to 2003, the year that Chris Morris was named Woodford Reserve Master Distiller. Morris and Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall have held back these barrels to batch with others for a special release, the company says.
“The name Very Fine Rare Bourbon is a nod to the descriptors used by our ancestors to auction highly aged bourbon barrel lots,” says Morris, who’s also known in the industry as an encyclopedic whiskey historian. “While Woodford Reserve will always honor the past, this Master’s Collection is about the present and future.”
Woodford Reserve Very Fine Rare Bourbon has a nose of sweet oak, caramel, brown sugar, chocolate and vanilla merged into a cured tobacco character brightened with apple fruit, the company reports. On the palate are old oak notes sweetened with honey balanced by a touch of citrus and apple peel, plus notes of clove spice. Company-provided tasting notes further describe the finish as raisin fruit and malty sweetness.
This year’s expression marks the 15th release for the Master’s Collection, created to reflect the “many discoveries and innovations” that occurred at the 1812 distillery site where Woodford Reserve is now located. Starting with the 2020 edition, all future master’s collections will focus on modern innovation by Morris and McCall.
The original Master’s Collection bottle design was shaped like a pot still, a nod to the stills used for distillation at Woodford Reserve Distillery. However, the new design references the classic flask-shaped Woodford bottle.
The 2020 Master’s Collection also marks the first time that McCall’s name will appear on the bottle hang tag since she was named Assistant Master Distillery in 2018. “What a fitting tribute to use these oldest barrels of Woodford Reserve to celebrate Chris Morris’ legacy while also looking to the future, “ McCall says.
Woodford Reserve Very Fine Rare Bourbon is 90.4 proof. It is available in select retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $129.99 per 750-ml. bottle.