Woodford Reserve Bourbon Blowout

Woodford Reserve recently held a Bourbon Blowout tasting session at Shirt Bar and Watch & Whisky like always was ready to jump at the chance to sample of these…

Woodford Reserve recently held a Bourbon Blowout tasting session at Shirt Bar and Watch & Whisky like always was ready to jump at the chance to sample of these amazing bourbons, some of which are no longer in existence. The event was run by none other than Stuart Reeves from Brown-Forman. The evening was very well organized with not only a very wide selection of bourbons to sample, but also a variety of additional treats like a nosing pallet which included citrus, dark chocolate, cheese, nuts and dried cranberry’s. Also as part of the experience we started out the evening with a whisky old fashioned or in this case a bourbon old fashioned. However you prefer it, it’s damn good with Woodford Reserve as part of the mix. Spicy and strong, it’s not a drink that’s for the faint of heart and definitely has a bite to it.

As Stuart finished setting up for the evening we were surprised to see that he had prepared a slide show presentation for us that helped outline the company’s history and where it was today in terms of size, scale, production and where the company is hoping to go in the future. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of the history right now, we’re here for the bourbon so let’s get down to it!

So let’s down to business! Starting off with the baddest dog of them all, the “White Dog”.

Nose: On the nose it had a very spicy with hints of corn and vanilla.

Palate: The taste however, was overwhelmingly spicy with a strong alcohol finish. Being a white spirit it was expected, but you could still sense the subtle hints of vanilla and corn, however the finish did make it difficult to get much more from the tasting.

Second on the list we tried the iconic Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select.

Nose: On the nose you get hints of vanilla and smoke that just envelop your senses and then the spices really hit your nose with a bang and can overwhelm you if you’re not careful. It’s a very empowering smell but still not so harsh that it kills any of its subtlety.

Palate: On the tongue you get the same spices and vanillas with hints of corn that you get from the nose, yet it has hints citrus that swirl around your mouth and give you a sense of freshness with a crisp clean finish.

Now we move onto the stars of the show, the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection.

Starting off with the Master’s Collection Maple Wood Finish.

Nose: On the nose it had a definite sense of vanilla and maple topped with sweet spices and a hint of cherry.

Palate: As for taste, you definitely get strong maple notes along with vanilla, cherry, honey and spices. Definitely a more broad range of flavors in this one given that it’s aged in a maple wood cask but not over-complicated where the flavors confuse rather than complement each other. The finish however I felt was spicy yet rich and fuller in flavor.

Next on the agenda was the Master’s Collection Aged Cask Rye.

Nose: On the nose the aged cask rye had creamy vanilla, cinnamon and fruity notes.

Palate: The taste of the aged cask rye had senses of citrus fruit, creamy vanilla and some spice. Although it sounds like it had an amazing palate, it was my least favorite of the night.

Following on from the Aged Cask Rye we get to the New Cask Rye, second of the rye collection.

Nose: On the nose you get hints of spices and cinnamon with subtle hints of fruit.

Palate: The taste is similar to its nose but with a creamier richer finish which was a little surprising. I definitely wasn’t expecting a creamy vanilla finish but rather a crisper finish like the Old Cask Rye but it felt smoother, richer in my tastes and was my favorite of the night.

And on we go to the Master’s Collection Fourwood.

Nose: On the nose it had a strong muky and nutty aroma but with subtle hints of cherry.

Palate: The taste however, had lots of citrus, cherry and nutty flavors with some spice thrown in there just because. The finish however had hints of nuts and a sticky sweet finish.

Lastly but certainly not least, the Master’s Collection Classic Malt.

Nose: On the nose it had a buttery and vanilla essence with hints of citrus.

Palate: The taste however had hints of dark chocolate, honey, buttery vanilla, with a long warm finish.

After the tasting session was over we were catered to by the guys and girls at Shirt Bar with their signature cheese and cold meat platter which was just the perfect way to end the evening. After a long night of bourbon, meat, cheese and warm bread, we all left feeling toasty warm and fulfilled, and no not in a disgusting way you perverts!

A special mention must be made to Stuart Reeves for putting up an amazing spread for us to taste and sample with a rich insight into the company’s history.

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The Good, the Bad, the Duty Free

Whilst honeymooning in Fiji I couldn’t help but get a little excited at the prospect of going through the amazing range at Duty Free in Sydney and just devouring…

Whilst honeymooning in Fiji I couldn’t help but get a little excited at the prospect of going through the amazing range at Duty Free in Sydney and just devouring my entire quota of whisky that you are allowed to bring into the country. Fortunately I had a new wife who was only too happy to oblige and let me use her quota as well so with that in mind I set off in duty free looking at my heart’s desire at some truly remarkable whiskies. For the everyday casual drinker duty free can be very overwhelming with such a wide range of whisky available and this can lead to a lot of second guessing or bad purchases that you will regret later. Fortunately here at we are happy to provide this little article to help you sift through all the goodies in Duty Free so that your purchases feel like your own and not what other people may push you into buying.

Firstly, Duty Free shopping is an experience so treat it as such, it’s a once in a so often opportunity (depending on how often you fly) to purchase whisky that may not be readily available or available at all in your country. Get there early and with plenty of time to peruse and take it all in, if you go with the mindset of quickly grabbing a few big 1 litre bottles and rushing to catch your flight, you have missed the point completely. I would give myself 2 hours, which I feel is a comfortable amount of time to look around. For Sydney siders if any of you have been to Duty Free you know that it may seem like a small Duty Free outlet but it is very, very, deceiving if you slow down to really admire what is on the shelves.

Secondly, don’t skip past anything, that’s one mistake a lot of people make and it puts me in tears seeing people just breeze past so much deliciousness. Slow down, don’t shy away from grabbing a few bottles and reading the information provided and just take in whatever information you’re looking for. You’ll be thoroughly surprised at what little gems you can find. Me personally, I was able to grab an absolute gem in the Balvenie 14yo Rum Cask Single Malt Whisky and it puts a smile on my face every time I pour myself a dram of that beautiful nectar.

Third, don’t overdo it! You might be at Duty Free but that doesn’t mean you should just blow your money because you can get a bigger bottle than what’s available at your local Dan Murphy’s or Vintage Cellars. Really think about what you are about to purchase, don’t get suckered into the mindset of buying for the sake of buying. There are plenty of outlets you can use if you can’t find what you’re looking for so don’t feel pressured into buying anything if there’s nothing that appeals to you.

Lastly, and most importantly, drink responsibly and by responsibly I mean with friends. Duty Free shopping is a chance to give your friends the chance to experience something they may not normally be able to. Hold a whisky tasting evening and crack open a special bottle you’ve found at Duty Free and enjoy a round with them. There’s no better feeling than enjoying a dram surrounded by good friends and good company. You may be surprised to see that your friends will return the favour when they go overseas and that is never a bad thing.

And there you have it folks, a quick insight into how to tackle to hurdles of Duty Free whisky shopping.

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