The third edition of Woodford Reserve’s Distillery Series (which are available for the most part only onsite at the Woodford Reserve facility) is here: Frosty Four Wood. If you remember the 2012 Master’s Collection release, Four Wood (which had three different finishing barrels applied to it). You may also remember the infamous polar vortex, which hit around that time. These two events collided in early 2013, when said vortex blasted Woodford’s warehouses with record low temperatures.
How is Frosty Four Wood different from the original? Good question. Here’s what Woodford says:
The original Four Wood Master’s Collection (2012 release) bottles (so they were in glass as opposed to the barrels still) were exposed to those cold temperatures during the 2013 Polar Vortex. This resulted in flocking so Woodford Reserve used filtration techniques to remove the mineral precipitation. The result was a more fruit-forward whiskey with maple hints.
And so, on to the tasting…
There’s lots of wood to go around here — classic Woodford on the nose, but tempered with notes of almond, raisin, and menthol. The body is quite buttery for bourbon, well-sherried with an overwhelming character of orange-scented marzipan. Cloves are a distinct note that rise and fall over the course of a session, along with black tea leaf. Compared to the original Four Wood, there is significantly less spice here — those cloves are muted when put next to the original’s cinnamon-spiced raisins — all of which leads to a surprisingly sweeter finish, with a character akin to raw sugar cookie dough. The somewhat flabby body gives the finish some muddiness, a stark contrast against the more bracing, lively original Four Wood.
Ultimately, while this is a charming whiskey on its own, I had a distinct preference for the original Four Wood and its more rounded, spicier character. If you’ve got a bottle of the original, it’s particularly fun to compare the two.
B+ / $50 (375ml) / woodfordreserve.com