Woodford Reserve Chocolate Malt Whisper
Woodford Reserve has been upping their game of late, with special releases and Distillery Series selections. But sometimes, accidents happen. And occasionally, those accidents can be something quite extraordinary.
The story behind Chocolate Malt Whisper starts with an accident. Several years back, when the team distilled Chocolate Malt Rye, some of the distillate mingled with the next batch and brought forward chocolate notes. Master Distiller Chris Morris shared, “Sometimes unforeseen developments occur in the distillery that result in great flavors, this is one of those cases.”
This Distillery Series was a limited production available in 375ml bottles at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky and priced at $49.99. It is made with the traditional Woodford Reserve mash bill of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley. Like most of the Woodford line, it is proofed at the common 90.4 level. While no age statement is present, most agree that Woodford Reserve is typically aged between 6-8 years.
Eye: Deep amber. There are a few thin legs on the inside of the glass.
Nose: There is a deep and layered sweet malt that is front and center. I almost wonder, did I pour Chocolate Whisper or their Malt Whiskey (which I do like). The sweet vanilla notes marry perfectly with these malty, earthy notes - this is definitely not your traditional Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select. There are some s'more-like notes, too - graham cracker, marshmallow, dark chocolate, and a wisp of campfire smoke. Absolutely delightful.
Palate: A creamy vanilla malt greets my palate followed by more light mouthfeel with vanilla followed by orange and milk chocolate - similar to Terry's orange-chocolate candy ball that's common at Christmastime.
Finish: Medium. A burst of dark chocolate followed by short and dry with toasted oak and peppercorn, followed by a gentle wave of vanilla.
Overall: If you have enjoyed some of the Master's Collections from Woodford or their Malt or Wheat whiskeys, this one will probably strike your fancy. I've enjoyed the malt-forward notes on several of those releases as a great "change of pace".
If the malt and s'more notes aren't your favorites, you might be disappointed with this Distillery Series. While I really enjoyed this and was glad we were able to capture a bottle (or two) on our serendipitous visit to the distillery, my daughter and son-in-law found the chocolate malt notes more subdued.