Woodford Reserve has come out with a couple of new bourbon expressions that are a breath of fresh air. I recommend that you try to find them. The first sample that I opened tasted immediately of a cast iron pan grilled ham steak. And because I had just grilled a slab of smoked ham, I set upon tasting the ham and slurping mouthfuls of the Woodford Reserve Four Wood from their Master’s Collection. But what goes into Four Wood and why does it remind me of a ham steak? Perhaps this has something to do with the ham itself. Smoky, charred and salty with brown sugar notes and aromatics of barnyard and sweet caramel linger on my tongue. There it is in the bourbon as well. Maple syrup (the dark Grade B type) a bit of char and gobs of sweet orange and vanilla beans.
I can taste the Rickhouse in every measured sip, the flavor of the wood mingled with the smell of time. The marketing material tells me that this bourbon is 94.4 Proof. It tastes much less powerful. I’ll bet this bourbon will charm my mint juleps come spring? Sure it will, but that would be a very expensive mint julep with a bottle approaching $ 100. The barrels that they use to age Four Wood are American Oak, then maple and Port and Sherry wood. The nose is reminiscent of Scotch Whisky. Did you know that Scotch is also finished in Port wood and Sherry wood? The expensive stuff is always “Aced” in exotic wood that was used for some other purpose first. I’m really fond of the Four Wood. Sure it’s expensive, but not wildly so. I may not mix it, but then again I might. It’s really up to the drinker. I would NEVER put cola over this slurp but I might mix ice, mint and sugar with it. The Four Wood with flavors of a lard crusted white stone fruit pie is not your entry level bourbon for mixing. I’d concentrate on something a bit less pricy for that. But if you are able to afford a bottle of $100 bourbon you can do whatever you want with it, except wash your hair with it of course.
Four Point Buck Cocktail
2 oz. Woodford Reserve Four Wood Bourbon (Master’s Collection)
Several home cured cherries and clementine slices
1 oz. Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1 oz. Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Saffron
Splash Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
4 drops Bitter End Moroccan bitters
Ice cubes made from water filtered through a MAVEA “Inspired water” pitcher infused with orange zests
To a Boston shaker filled 3/4 with ice add the cherries and muddle with a couple clementine segments
Add the Woodford Reserve Four Wood
Add the Carpano Antica
Add the Simple Syrup from Royal Rose
Add exactly Four Drops of the Bitter End Moroccan bitters
Shake for thirty seconds vigorously
Add three cubes of the Mavea infused ice (with orange zests frozen into them) to a Collins glass
Double strain over the ice
I also received a sample of the Double Oaked Bourbon. Decidedly lighter at (only) 90.4 Proof, this bourbon is gorgeous in the glass. It resonates with a juicy texture of caramel, sea salt and dehydrated stone fruits. There is some cinnamon in there along with a healthy splash of brown butter and toasted corn. Maybe popcorn? Perhaps. I like the maple syrup element as well as the toasted caramel notes. It’s a great entry point to the more expensive bourbons on the market, rolling in at about $ 50 per bottle. Half as expensive as the Four Wood but every bit as sumptuous in the glass as the more expensive version. I’d actually mix the more expensive Four Wood before I mixed the Double Oaked. I think for some reason that the Double Oaked version is more elegant, so I’m only recommending a snifter with one cube of perfect ice, with the water filtered through my Mavea “Inspired water” pitcher. I don’t want to do anything else to it.
This water is that good. Or is it the bourbon? Oh, with all this drinking, I’m just not sure any longer!