Updated: Feb 18, 2021
Distillery: Woodford Reserve / Brown-Forman Distillery
Mashbill: 70% Corn, 15% Chocolate Malted Rye, 15% Distillers Malt
BACKGROUND: Woodford Reserve releases a special edition of their Woodford Reserve twice a year which is called their Master's Collection. This was the second release of 2019. Traditionally, Chris Morris, Brown-Forman's Master Distiller has the spring release be a high proof or barrel strength and the fall release is focused on creativity and experimentation, hence this one being Chocolate Malted Rye. One thing to note about the Woodford Reserve Master's Collection is that they are historically hit and miss. We've had the chance to try a few of them and some are great and others not so much. The chocolate flavoring comes from the rye malt being roasted to a point where the natural sugars caramelized into a chocolate-like flavor.
NOSE: As soon as you take a sniff you're greeted with sweet vanilla, rich caramel, toasted almond, and some semi-sweet chocolate that was freshly made. After the sweet notes dance around for a bit the whiskey hints at some oak but it is young oak. The nose is quite light on this whiskey and underdeveloped due to the low proof. (17/25)
PALATE: Meh, this is disappointing. The whiskey started off fantastic with some fresh cocoa nibs and caramel that was delicious but then there was a really bitter dark dark chocolate note that overpowered the palate and was overly bitter. The low proof allowed for there to be no burn but it also was underwhelming us as it was so light. I was surprised by the palate as the mashbill on this whiskey has a high corn percentage but the 15% chocolate malted rye really overpowered the 70% corn. (27/40)
FINISH: The finish has more of the dark chocolate that overpowered the palate along with some smokey leather. The finish is quite long and as it lingers on, the finish transitions into a sweet oaky chocolate that was very tasty. (19/25)
VALUE: The SRP is $130 which is quite high for whiskeys and this one just isn't worth it in our opinion. We think this drinks like a $60 whiskey and that's what we would spend. (5/10)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was an interesting bottle that always caught my eye sitting on the shelf. We've been able to try some others from the Master's Collection that were hit and miss so we decided to pull the trigger one day. This whiskey just isn't for us though. With the steep price of $130 you can get much better whiskeys for half the price. I’m glad I tried it but wouldn’t buy it again.
Similar & Slightly Better Whiskey: Widow Jane Chocolate Malt
Similar & Equal Whiskey: 117 West Coast Whiskey
Similar & Slightly Worse Whiskey: Rock Town Chocolate Malt
Tell us what you think and give us some feedback!
96-100: The perfect dram, juice of the gods
90-95: Near perfect, truly incredible whiskey
85-89: Amazing whiskey, will always try to keep a backup bottle of this
80-84: Very good, some minor flaws here or there
75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink, Will try and keep a bottle on the shelf
70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get this
60-69: Decent, would offer this up to non whiskey drinkers
50-59: Not my cup of tea