Woodford Reserve Masters Collection 124.7 Review
Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Batch Proof is produced the same way as the standard Woodford Reserve, except that rather than watering it down to their standard 90.4 proof, it is released at batch proof. The Master’s Collection Batch Proof is therefore the true, uncut version of the normal Woodford Reserve, right from the barrel. The 2023 release was overseen by Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall, who took the reigns in February of this year. If you have this on your shelf, grab a pour and sip with me while I write this Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Batch Proof 124.7 review.
Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Batch Proof 124.7 Review
My tasting reviews are unique in that I include the notes of several well-known whiskey critics. The hope is that this format will help me and others to explore and expand their tasting experience. After you have taken your own tasting notes, read the reviews and see if there is a flavor note that others discerned that now you can detect as well.
Alcohol fumes, caramel, fig, peach, pecans, hint of chocolate.
Other Reviewer’s Perceptions
Mash & Drum: It’s pretty nutty on the nose, a hint of banana, dark caramel, alcohol, vanilla.
Mostly Bourbon: Rich notes of chocolate covered raisins, toffee, luxardo cherry reduction with apricot, red berries, baked apple and a hint of banana and orange citrus. …also vanilla bean, sage, green tea, allspice and cedar. As time passes and with each sip, this profile opens with more sweet butterscotch, pitted fruit and berries. The oak in this batch is fantastic. All the notes are carefully well balanced with no ethanol in the way.
The Bourbon Culture: The scent of chocolate wafer crisps and caramel-covered Flan fills my nostrils when I take a sip. There’s a nice amount of oak and leather present too. This creamed corn scent hints to its age being on the younger side. Toasted pecans dusted with cinnamon and some cherries are also floating around. Overall, the nose is great, somewhat uncomplicated and has a touch of youth to it.
Semi-dry. Cinnamon, caramel, sweet oak, semi-sweet chocolate, mild vanilla notes, orange peel, leather, luxardo cherries, hint of apple pie, barrel char, old cedar.
Other Reviewer’s Perceptions
Mash & Drum: The dry nuttiness is definitely there, a dry peanut note. It is dry from front to back, caramel on the second sip but the dry peanut is still there in droves, it’s still drying, the alcohol is prevalent on the back palate. I don’t think this is an old bourbon. Nice balance of oak, good sweetness…not much to say about this bottle. It’s good, I don’t think it’s great.
Mostly Bourbon: A medium viscous mouthfeel with luxardo cherries, red berries, apricot and banana, a good amount of chocolate, sage, vanilla and rich oak. A well-balanced allspice enters mid sip followed by a soft Kentucky hug in the chest. I love the rich and well-balanced oak that tastes older than its age and adds depth to this profile. This is a very delicious pour that drinks dangerously below its proof.
The Bourbon Culture: Of all the nice flavors I find, I’m somewhat surprised by a persistent grainy note that lurks around. As is the case with most Woodfords, I’m detecting chocolate. The sweetness comes by way of toffee and is toned down from the previous two Batch Proofs (119.8 and 118.4).
The high proof is probably the culprit behind this dram having a good amount of heat per sip. Either that or it’s the cinnamon and peppercorn flavors popping on my tongue. Tannins come by way of barrel char and seasoned oak. There’s also some nice fruit flavors like grilled stone fruit and a very light banana.
Long finish with oak, caramel, cinnamon.
Other Reviewer’s Perceptions
Mash & Drum: It has a nice spice to it.
Mostly Bourbon: Allspice continues to linger on the palate with luxardo cherry, banana, apricot, vanilla and sage. Oak turns to delicate tannins of leather as allspice fades with vanilla and cherry coming back around to close out this very long and tasteful finish.
The Bourbon Culture: The finish has concentrated tannins similar to leather and oak. Just like on the palate, the rye spices are always present with cinnamon, allspice and green peppercorns all providing a lively and lingering flavor. Caramel and chocolate chips give the finish some sweetness too.
4 out of 5. This means that the burn from the alcohol is a bit lower (5% to 9%) than what I would expect it to be. I would guess this to be around 115 proof, not 124.7 proof.
My overall impression is that the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Batch Proof 124.7 is semi-dry, spicy, “hot”, and lacking in enough sweetness to balance these flavors out. I enjoyed last year’s batch 118.4 much more than this one. But then, I do prefer a sweeter flavor profile to a dry-spicy profile.
To be honest, for the $130 price point, I’d rather have a $70 Barrel Proof Elijah Craig or Barrel Proof Larceny. Both have an age statement (which is probably older than this is), and both generally have an equal or much better flavor profile for a much lower MSRP. Although they are somewhat limited, they are not as hard to find as the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection releases. Bottom line… it’s nice to have in the collection, but I wouldn’t buy a backup and would consider only trying a pour at a bar rather than purchasing a full bottle.
Notes and History
The standard Woodford Reserve is made from a batch of about 120 barrels. They combine an undisclosed ratio of their Woodford Reserve copper triple pot still bourbon with their Old Forester column still bourbon from the Brown-Forman distillery. Both whiskeys use the same mash bill of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley. The standard Woodford has a barrel entry proof of 100 with an average age of 6 years, and the Old Forester’s entry proof is 125 with an average age of 4 – 6 years.
Both distilleries use the same in-house oak barrel cooperage which seasons the wood naturally for 9 months. Each barrel receives about a 10 minute pre-char toast to break down the oak’s lignin, and then each barrel is charred for 25 seconds for Woodford products.
Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection has chosen to use the phrase “batch proof” over the more commonly used “barrel proof”, “cask strength”, or “barrel strength” and although they all mean essentially the same in the industry thing (i.e. no water added), to the whiskey illiterate, the other phrases 3 seem to imply the proof is from a single barrel when in reality it is the proof from a batch of many barrels combined.
It is important to note that the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Batch Proof is released in a 700 ml size rather than the more common 750 ml bottle, just like Brown-Forman did with their Jack Daniels Bonded and Triple Mash Whiskey. Outside the US, the 700 ml is a more common size and perhaps this is a sign of a new trend for bottle sizes in the US.
My Tasting Notes
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