You truly never know what you are going to get with the Woodford Reserve Masters Collection. There are pretty big differences between them all. The color is the most noticeable observation one can make without actually tasting it: a deep rusty red. The pinot barrel definitely shows in the color.
The nose is another giveaway – far “fruitier” than what most bourbon drinkers are accustomed to. Not sure if there is spice or smoke in there as well, or perhaps a mingling of the two. Some may be put off by the almost potpourri nature of the nose, but I actually appreciate it. Its a welcome change of pace from the honey, oak, vanilla noses that most bourbons possess.
All the official tasting notes are usually inaccurate to say the least. For instance, WoodfordReserve.com describes the Pinot Noir Finished bourbon as ‘Warm and fruit forward with notes of cherry, raspberry, blackberry followed by a crisp spiciness and subtle oak sweetness.’ While I get that on the nose, the taste is anything but ‘subtle’ when it comes to its oak sweetness. Two words come to mind: candy corn.
It is also evident that the pinot noir soaked into the bourbon barrels is made in a new world style – despite claiming a Burgundian heritage. The worst style for a pinot. Far too much fruit. Too much alcohol. Too little tannin (which would have been a perfect compliment to the “candy corn”.