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Review: Woodford Reserve Four Wood Bourbon

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.

I received an advanced sample of this new whiskey. Here are my thoughts

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Four Wood Bourbon, 47.2% abv (94.4 Proof), $99/bottle
Color: Deep Amber
Nose: Sweet and fruity – butter pecan, maple and toffee meets lush ripe orchard fruits (peach,, golden delicious apple, and muscadine jelly). An almost floral oak aroma adds interest.
Palate: Rustic, youthful, and corn laden up front on the palate. Maple and butter pecan flavors add needed sweetness before a drying oak tannin builds. The fruit hints at showing but never quite breaks through.
Finish: Buttered corn, maple sweetness, and bitter tannin.
Overall: Four Wood begins with an epic bang. The nose is absolutely phenomenal with lush fruit and candy shop sweets everywhere. It’s truly gorgeous and as unique a nose in all of whiskey. And that’s where things sort of get all wobbly. The palate is a patchwork of disjointed flavors with awkward transitions through the sip on to the finish. Frankly it’s a bit of a mess – not without some high points, but never coming together. It tastes a lot more youthful than standard Woodford. What I’m left with is too much of the toasted maple wood dryness on the palate and not enough of the fruit and lushness that the nose demonstrates. It’s not bad whiskey, in fact it begins (as I noted) with a boom, but it finishes with a flutter. Not something I’d recommend at this price. I’m a fan of Woodford Reserve. It gets piled on by enthusiasts but I’ve always felt it’s a very good, quality bourbon. The Master’s Collection releases however come across as a complete money grab by Brown-Forman. That I cannot get behind.
Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 7.2 (Good)

9 Comments

  1. tmckenzie says:

    Only 2 of the releases I liked were the sweet mash and the rye. I think the reson these whiskey’s are so different, lots of people say bad, but I say different is the pot stills. I think they are distilling too much taste out, a lot of trouble with the micros is the same problem. Some of the smarter ones are putting in scaled down versions of column stills used to make bourbon the traditional way. A pot is not always best.

  2. Vince says:

    Thanks Jason! You just saved me $100! Another disappointing Masters Collection Bourbon from Brown-Forman, what a surprise

  3. Jon says:

    Thanks for the review Jason. Do you think it wold have improved with age or increase proof?

  4. Justin says:

    Save the specific flavors you mentioned, this seems to me like it could be the exact same review for many of the Woodford masters series releases. Interesting that your impressions were almost identical to that of the predictions of many comments when you announced, but had not yet tasted this release: NOT WORTH THE PRICE!!!!!!!!!

  5. Brent says:

    Thanks for the review. Got a $100 bill to burn and want to make sure it’s done right. Looks like it will be 4 roses LE small batch or a BTAC if I can find something other than THH.

  6. Nick says:

    Thanks for the review. I expected the result but was honestly hoping Woodford would get this right. Perhaps there are people out there that would want this but I’ll pass. Instead for around the same price as that bottle I’m going to get bottles of this years versions of George T. Stagg and Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. :-D

  7. Jon, I’d say this one isn’t age related. I’d like to have their juice because I think there are components that are very good – it doesn’t seem to be very harmoniously mingled together.

  8. Bill Bird says:

    Thanks for giving Woodford a shout. It is my favorite Bourbon, and I don’t feel like it gets any good votes.

  9. Bill says:

    I tried Four Wood and could not agree more with your review. I put the bottle away for two months and after visiting the distillery this week, decided to give it another taste when I got back. The bourbon is completely different. Gone is the too woody upfront flavor and a multitude of fruity and sweet flavors have come out. As a huge fan of Woodford, aside from the cost, I would now recommend this bourbon.
    All the best, Bill

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  1. [...] my tasting notes, I have to say I agree almost 100% with Jason’s take on this whiskey over at Sour Mash Manifesto. I was hesitant to even publish these notes given how close my thoughts are to his, but the more [...]

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