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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Bourbon

Woodford Reserve Five-Malt Stouted Whiskey

Five-Malt Stouted Whiskey is the 17th in the Master's Collection from Woodford Reserve. This annual release supposedly has stout beer notes. You had me with a Master's Collection, but stout beer? Now, I'm really interested.

A Tribute to the Irish

For nearly two decades, Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris, assisted with Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall, have released a special “Master’s Collection” each Fall. In the past, I've enjoyed their Cherrywood Smoked Barley and Select American Oak.

The 2021 expression tips their hat to the history of Irish immigrants in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Woodford Reserve Distillery traces its roots back to the early 1800s. The main distillery building at the site was built by Irish stonemasons in 1838. The grain, fermented in large cypress vats, is traditionally referred to as "distiller's beer". After triple distillation in large copper pot stills, the beer is converted to white dog which is then aged in new charred oak barrels.

Each year, the Master's Collection allows Miller and McCall to "push the envelope" and expand the traditional flavor profiles with unique mash bills, finishing, or barreling techniques. I appreciate the creativity and uniqueness offered by each of these releases to see what new treats for the senses can be delivered.

While the exact mash bill is not identified for this malt whiskey, it's probably safe to assume that the Woodford Malt Whiskey's mash bill of 51% malted barley, 47% corn, and 2% rye served as a starting point. Note that this deviates heavily from the traditional bourbon mash bill for Woodford Reserve of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley.

The Tasting

This special release is bottled at 90.4 proof in a square bottle with a graceful, long neck. Suggested retail price is $129.

Eye: A beautiful dark reddish-hued copper. There are thick tears that drip down the inside of the Glencairn glass.

Nose: Loads of delicious toasted malt grains that remind me of the great outdoors and campfires. There are also notes of milk chocolate, toasted nuts, caramel, and even a hint of spearmint.

Palate: Suffice it to say, Distillers Morris and McCall nailed this one! Yes, this is whiskey that drinks like a good, creamy, Irish stout beer. Luscious and rich on the palate, there is dark cocoa, caramel, and English tea biscuit flavors, along with toasted oak and baking spices.

Finish: Medium-long in length with charred oat, baking spices, and earthy, grassy notes along with a graham cracker s’more. The stout beer notes appear here on the finish. It's not hot, just smooth and velvety.

Overall: I'm a fan of the Woodford Straight Malt Whiskey. Both have flavors of graham cracker and s'more-like notes, with this Master's Collection really amping up those malty notes that do remind me of a finely crafted stout beer. The malty notes are nicely balanced with corn sweetness, as well.

As we approach the Fall season, and vests and flannels once again emerge, this is the perfect whiskey to enjoy when there's a nip in the air as the days begin to shorten. While priced beyond what I normally like to spend for a whiskey, this is one to consider adding to your collection (if you can find it) and is worth the spend.

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