Woodford Reserve’s goal to never repeat a Master’s Collection recipe has forced it to get pretty innovative after 20 years of releases. For 2023, the distillery has put together a unique offering called Sonoma Triple Finish. This one honors its longstanding footprint in Sonoma County, finishing Woodford bourbon in Sonoma County pinot noir, brandy, and former bourbon barrels that were subsequently used to age red wine.
Let’s see the results.
Immersive on the nose, there’s definitely something unique here that evokes dark chocolate, caramel sauce, and brown butter — with complementary notes of tea leaf and slightly brooding barrel char. Notes of oxidized apples emerge with time in glass, providing some subdued, autumnal fruit notes. On the palate, the whiskey showcases a rich, rounded body, again quite nutty and with an intriguing note of menthol backing it up. Buttery and creamy on first blush, there’s a heavy tannic quality that quickly comes into focus as you sip on the whiskey — driven I’m sure by the red wine influence. As the finish approaches, watch for more of this tough, doughy quality on tap. This quality actually becomes a touch daunting as it develops in the glass, coming across as slightly gritty and chalky on the finish.
Everything’s lovely and on point right up ’til the end, alas. Guess it’s too bad they didn’t go with a Sonoma Double Finish. Got greedy.
B+ / $150 / woodfordreserve.com