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Woodford releases new “Four Wood” Bourbon

Each year Woodford Reserve releases a limited edition whsikey as a part of their Master’s Collection. The collection refers to Master Distiller, Chris Morris’s utilization, or focus, on one of five components in the whiskey making process – grain, water, fermentation, distillation, and maturation.

The latest Master’s Collection release is Four Wood Bourbon, which is mature Woodford Reserve (which ages in new oak barrels like all bourbon) that is put through a “finishing” process (additional maturation/aging) in Maple Wood, Port Wood, and Sherry Wood barrels. It’s not known as of yet, where the Port and Sherry barrels were sourced, but I’m going to try to find out. Each of these barrels were married together in varied proportions to create the finished bourbon.

I must admit that I’ve had very mixed experiences with the Master’s Collection products. At their best the whiskeys have been “very good” (Maple Wood Finish), and at their worst (last year’s Rare Rye) they’ve been terrible. At a retail price of $99.99, there’s some risk involved for the consumer.

This Four Wood Bourbon however has me very intrigued. I should point out that I’m “bought in” on the whole “finished whiskey” thing that has caught on with distillers and independent bottlers in recent years. Is it gimmicky sounding? Perhaps. But there’s no question that finishing in Port wood barrels moved Angel’s Envy from a merely good bourbon to something of definite merit. Last years Parker’s Heritage Collection, which was finished in cognac barrels was downright superb – one of my highest rated whiskeys of the year. Hooker’s House, a bourbon finished in pinot noir barrels, didn’t disappoint either. In short – my experiences with many of these finished whiskeys has been good.

Each bottle of Four Wood will be offered at 750M, retail at $99.99, and at 94.4 proof. Will Four Wood set a higher standard for the Master’s Collection series? I’m expecting to try it within the next week – my thoughts and review will follow soon after.

18 Comments

  1. Tim Read says:

    For once in my life, I’m listening to my gut and I am finally skipping a WRMC release. I hope it’s good though if Woodford is your speed!

  2. Bmac says:

    Wow, for 100 bucks I could get a bottle of Parker’s Heritage, any BTAC product or even a Pappy 15yr.

    I understand WR’s investment, but why does the consumer have to pay through the nose for their experiment? I had the same misgivings about BT’s Oak Project. Price is just too high for what could likely be mediocre bourbon.

    Cognac I get, its sweet nature goes well with bourbon. I have the maple finish and it’s “ok”. So port will make it a bit sour and sherry will add more fruit notes. Double Oaked was a let down too. So, i’m with Tim on this; I can no longer afford the risk. There are far better and consistent products for the price. I will await the reviews….

  3. Wes says:

    I have yet to try a bourbon that has been “finished” with these different barrels but I have had some scotch so treated and it was excellent. But $100?!? I can see $40-50. For $75 you can buy superb cask strength bourbon or scotch.

  4. Vince says:

    I too have found the Masters Collection to be very inconsistent. I thought the Maple finish was OK at best, the Rye last year was below standard. I did like the seasoned wood.
    This bottling does intrigue me as I do like wood “finishing” but for the price I am going to wait for the reviews. I know I always get superb whiskey with the Parkers Collection and BTAC. With Woodford it is very hit and miss.

  5. I agree with everyone else. I’m not sure if a $100 price point is alluring enough to get me to try it. I’d love to see how it goes, so long as someone else is footing the bill. It’s a great concept and I love seeing innovation in the bourbon world.

  6. Justin says:

    Inconsistency aside, IMHO none of the Woodford Master releases have been worth their premium price tags. I like what Bmac said above. In OK, I can actually buy 2 bottles of the new PHC for the same price of the Four Wood. That just seems like a better use of $100 whiskey dollars to me.

  7. Lazer says:

    IMHO a bottle of whiskey is almost never worth more than $75 or $80, and it has to be something really special to be worth that much. $90+ is almost never worth it, maybe once in a decade.

  8. Jack Willow says:

    I thought the maple finish was interesting, but not great. I still look forward to this, although that experience might make me want to split the bottle with a friend. These things are too expensive to walk in and buy blind, not with that mixed record.

  9. sam k says:

    Inconsistency is one thing. Excellence is an entirely different matter. These releases have never been excellent, and that’s what kills the deal for me. They’ve already ruined their reputation for high-end releases in my opinion.

    Why bother?

  10. Nick says:

    A few years ago me and a few couple threw in on a bottle of the sonoma-cutter finish…. and it was just terrible, at least IMHO. I’ve stayed away from picking up a bottle of these since. I tried a dram of the aged rye at a bar a little while back and it did nothing to improve my view on these “Masters’ Collection” releases. For the price it is just not worth it to me. I tend to be in the $20-$40/bottle range anyway with my budget, I’ll splurge every now and then on a fancy bottle but when I do I want to know i’m getting something uniquely special not just something that’s just different just for the sake of being different. I look forward to this review.

  11. Dave in Oklahoma says:

    $100 bucks you say!!! I think I’d buy a bottle of; Maker’s Mark, George Dickel#12, Fighting Cock, and maybe…if I have any change left…a bottle of Evan Willams “Put in Oak-2002″.

    $100 bucks you say…..

    Dave in Oklahoma

  12. Ben says:

    I guess I’m the one weirdo who really liked the Woodford rye release last year. Specifically, really liked the aged-cask rye, which I thought was really unique–had a kind of perfume quality to go with the usual rye notes. It was overpriced enough that I didn’t load up on it, but when the local store finally put them on clearance earlier this month I grabbed myself another one and was glad to get it. I guess in this day and age it’s nice to like the premium whiskey everyone else snubs. Now I just need to start a campaign to convince everyone that Stagg is terrible.

  13. Jon says:

    All in all I am a fan of Woodford. I just wish (particularly the Master’s collection) they would increase the proof. I will be patiently anticipating your review Jason.

  14. Guy says:

    Let me think about this…..
    Hooker’s House $36, and very highly rated. Woodford releases new “Four Wood” Bourbon $100…..I’ll pass. If we keep paying these prices, bourbon will soon be the price of scotch.

  15. I’m pretty much with everyone else on this one; the price is a stretch. If I were going to shell out $100 for bourbon, it’d probably be towards a bottle or two of Buffalo Trace’s next round of “Single Oak Project” if I could get my hands on it for comparison. Either that or something from their antique collection.
    I mostly drink Scotch though, so I can’t say I’d pass up a bottle of Glenfarclas 17 or HP 18 if I were in a store trying to decide.
    Cheers!
    Wm

  16. Fred says:

    I was hesitant to try this bourbon because of being let down by past master’s collections and the $100 price but found it to be the best Woodford product so far. Better than the Double Oak and Maple finish take the plunge you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy

  17. Paul McDonnell says:

    My good friend, Ron, invited me over to taste his new
    purchase of the the 4 Wood Reserve! We enjoyed
    eveything about this bourbon! The aroma, the fine long legs,
    and a taste you will savor. The greatest thing about this
    fantastic reserve was the finish, a spicy tongue tititllating
    lasting experience you will find in no other reserve!
    Pricy but worth the adventure.

  18. Paul – I am glad you liked it. There’s a moral here that’s critical for whiskey drinkers. Folks that write reviews are doing so from their viewpoint only and someone else may love something I say is merely good. There is no substitute for trying it on your own.

1 Trackback

  1. [...] Review: Woodford Reserve Four Wood Bourbon Published: October 31st, 2012 | Categories: Woodford Reserve | 0 Comments Last Tuesday I posted about the latest release as a part of Woodford Reserve’s annual Master’s Collection release. For more insight on this release please check out the post here. [...]