By Richard Thomas
Woodford Reserve has three lines of whiskey: it’s regular releases, including the basic Woodford, Woodford Double Oaked and Woodford Rye; it’s annual Master’s Collection limited editions; and it’s periodic Distillery Series limited editions. The latter is available only at the distillery and a handful of selected Kentucky retailers, but is also where Woodford Master Distiller Chris Morris does some of his most interesting tinkering.
Frosty Four Wood is where the older Master’s Collection crosses over into the Distillery Series. The 2012 Woodford Master’s Collection release was Four Wood, which drew on standard Woodford bourbon stock and finished it in separate batches with maple, Port and Sherry wood. Combined with the original new white oak, that makes four types of wood used, all of it blended together.
While this release was ongoing, the 2013 winter storms struck, bringing record low temperatures and putting the deep freeze on some bottled Four Wood stock. This flocked the unfiltered whiskey, and rather than sell or dump the whiskey, Woodford filtered it to remove the mineralization. The result was a shift in the flavor profile, and thus we have Frosty Four Wood. The iced and filtered version was bottled at 90.4 proof (45.2% ABV), somewhat lower than the original Master’s Four Wood.
One thing Frosty Four Wood shares with its forebear is it’s deep, rich and reddened coloring. The richness is more than just suggestive, as the liquid runs with slow, viscous legs.
The nose is quite fruity, with heavy overtones of cherry, plums and red and black grapes, seasoned with a bit of peppery spice. Adding to the red-wine like current of flavors is a decidedly earthy character. The finish turns drier, and leaves a spicy aftertaste with lingering, low warmth.
Frosty Four Wood is very different from the typical bourbon, so much so that it really only has a couple of toes inside the flavor profile. The extra three casks used in the finishing show very strongly here, so it’s probably not what the average bourbon drinker is looking for. For those looking for a walk on the wild side, though, it’s perfect.
$50 per 375 ml bottle.