On November 1st Woodford Reserve announced the newest addition to its Master’s Collection – a bourbon finished in sugar maple wood barrels. With a sample in hand, it’s time to taste the new offering.
Woodford Reserve Maple Wood Finish Bourbon is a rich golden brown. On the nose it’s intensely woody, with sweet maple characteristics, baked fruit and raisins.
Sugar maple wood has long been considered too sweet to be used for aging bourbon. Woodford’s expression tempers that sweetness with a higher proof, 94.4, and lots of oak. The flavor is sweet maple, cinnamon and more of that oak – too much, I think. Some of the flavors get lost as the oak continues to dominate the finish, turning it somewhat tannic. A splash of water tames the whiskey, bringing out more sweetness.
Woodford Reserve Maple Wood Finish Bourbon is certainly unique and worth sampling. I just wish they’d reined in the oak a bit – perhaps reduced the aging – for what I think would be a more pleasant spirit.
– 47.2% Alcohol by Volume