Posted on April 23, 2010 | By The Bon-Vivant | Comments Off on Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection 1838 Sweet Mash
For this tasting, four of the Locusts gathered together to pass judgement on Woodford Reserve’s Master’s Collection 1838 Sweet Mash Bourbon. Those present were The Enabler, The Bon-Vivant, The Palate, and the Father of the Palate, a man of great discernment and taste, a prison guard of long-standing, thus a man who has tasted the finest pruno the world has to offer.
To start we poured off goodly snifter’s full for each of us.
The Enabler: (sniffs) Oh, what was that?
The Palate: I think you mean, a strong aroma of vanilla.
The Enabler: Of course, I have a terrible sense of smell.
The Bon-Vivant: Which makes you the perfect drinker! All tongue, no nose.
The Enabler: Speaking of nose, this has a really easy nose on it.
The Bon-Vivant: I’m getting lots of fruit and vanilla, heavy on the sweetness.
The Enabler: What do walnuts taste like?
The Bon-Vivant: You grew up in the walnut capital of the world.
The Palate: Bitter. Walnuts taste bitter, and stick to your teeth, but this is only faintly like walnuts. To me it’s much more hazelnutty.
The Enabler: Walnuts. I’m getting a hint of walnuts.
The Father of the Palate: This smells great.
The Bon-Vivant; It’s definitely sweet.
The Palate: It’s a sweet mash.
The Enabler: And now, enough sniffing, time for the “Kentucky Chew”
The Bon-Vivant: The Kentucky Chew?
The Enabler: A big sip that coats all of your flavor receptors.
The Father of the Palate: Ooops! There it was.
The Palate: Ha! Dad just took a big chug!
The Enabler: Wow! How was it?
The Father of the Palate: It was awesome.
The Bon-Vivant: Awesome?
The Father of the Palate: Awesome. It’s got a great taste.
The Enabler: I don’t know exactly what flavor this has, but it’s got a great silky feel.
The Bon-Vivant. This has an amazing finish. A very long, very smooth finish. Not a lot of bite. I’m getting lots of vanilla and sweet creamy goodness.
The Enabler: (Reading from tiny brochure attached to bottle.) “Taste: rich with loads of fruit – apple, blueberry, and blackberry – all layered with a hint of maple syrup. Rye and mint rounds out the palate.”
The Bon-Vivant: Dammit, you’ve ruined the ending for me!
The Father of the Palate: I’m not getting all that.
The Palate: Yeah, I’m not getting the blackberry.
The Enabler: I agree, the writer of the tasting notes needs to come off his high horse. (mimics voice loaded with fruit) “ooooh, blackberry and blueberry.”
The Bon-Vivant: I am getting a hint of walnuty goodness here.
The Enabler: (fruit laden voice) Not just any walnut, but virgin black walnut grafted onto ye olde English root stock, grown in the rich Vina loam of the great Central Valley.
The Bon-Vivant: Damn, you should writing the copy for tiny little brochures to attach to the necks of bourbon bottles.
The Enabler: It’s a specialized skill.
The Bon-Vivant: Indeed. But back to the bourbon at hand. This is excellent stuff. I rank it much higher than a couple of the recent things we’ve drunk, better than the Old Weller Antique, and certainly better than the Elmer T. Lee.
The Enabler: In all seriousness, this is perhaps the finest bourbon I’ve ever tasted, at least for a sipping bourbon.
The Bon-Vivant: You’ve got a qualifier there at the end.
The Enabler: Well, who knows how this would work as a mixing bourbon, or with water or soda.
The Palate: Yeah, who knows what it tastes like with Coke.
The Enabler: I’m sure it would be good, but others might be better, and besides you wouldn’t want to waste this bourbon with a mixer.
The Bon-Vivant: This is excellent stuff.
The Enabler: And now to add some water. (Pours a little water into each glass.)
The Palate: I don’t know, I don’t think it opens up at all with the addition of water.
The Enabler: I agree this is much better neat.
The Bon-Vivant: Agreed. So, what’s our final verdict?
The Enabler: WOOT!
The Bon-Vivant: And by woot, you actually meant “w00t!”
The Father of the Palate: I agree. It’s one of the best bourbons I’ve had.
Conclusion: All four of us agree that this is one of the finest sipping bourbons we’ve ever tasted, fruity, sweet, and complex, with a long smooth finish that encourages lingering. This is not a bourbon for mixing, not even with water, but something you want to savor slowly with good friends and fine conversation. At $90 a bottle (in California), Woodford Reserve 1838 Sweet Mash pricey, but if you’re sipping it’s worth it.