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Bourbon News & Notes: Woodford Reserve Winter 2020 Master’s Collection (Very Fine Rare Bourbon)

Woodford Reserve Winter 2020 Master’s Collection: Very Fine Rare Bourbon

I have a fond memory of the very first Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection release. The year was 2003 and the legendary R.W. “Johnny” Apple, Jr. of the New York Times was in Louisville to write about our local restaurant gems. He had quoted me, as the restaurant critic and beverage writer at the Courier-Journal, in an article in the NYT about bourbon, and so the role as his culinary tour guide fell to me.

One of our stops was lunch at the corporate headquarters of Brown-Forman and while Johnny was confabbing with the B-F execs, I was treated to a tasting at the Bourbon Street Café bar (that’s the very elegant company commissary) of the first release of a new limited edition series – Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Four Grain.

That was also the year Chris Morris became Brown-Forman’s master distiller. This year’s Master’s Collection, dubbed Very Fine Rare Bourbon, includes whiskey mingled from 17-year-old barrels he set aside in 2003. Even though that was 17 years ago, this is the 15th release in the Master’s Collection. And while previous versions have been packaged in a pot still shaped bottle, this one has a sleek, flask-like design. In addition to Morris’s imprimatur, it also features assistant master distiller Elizabeth McCall’s name on the bottle.

Morris explained in a press release, “The name Very Fine Rare Bourbon is a nod to the descriptors used by our ancestors to auction highly-aged Bourbon barrel lots,” Morris said. “While Woodford Reserve will always honor the past, this Master’s Collection is about the present and future.”

So, in that spirit, future master’s collection editions will be based on modern innovation by Morris and McCall.

McCall added, “What a fitting tribute to use these oldest barrels of Woodford Reserve to celebrate Chris Morris’ legacy while also looking to the future.”

This year’s Master’s Collection retails for $129.99. For more information, visit woodfordreserve.com

A Winter Warmer from O.H. Ingram

The mercury has finally taken a nosedive and peak whiskey season is here. So it’s time for a fine spirited coffee after-dinner drink perfect for sipping by the fireplace. The people at O.H. Ingram have a suggestion in their maple whiskey coffee. Of course, it might be exactly the picker-upper in the morning after you stomp the snow off your boots when you come inside after chopping firewood. (Or fetching the newspaper from the driveway.) The whiskey is new to the market, so if you can’t find it, feel free to substitute what you have on hand. But definitely give O.H. Ingram credit for the drink and seek out a bottle when you have a chance.

Maple Whiskey Coffee

  • 8 oz coffee (freshly brewed)
  • 1 oz O.H. Ingram River Aged Whiskey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup whipping cream (heavy)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

In a bowl, combine the whipping cream, maple syrup, vanilla and brown sugar. Whisk this mixture until sugar is dissolved. Add the bourbon to the coffee and mix well. Add the maple cream mixture to the coffee in an amount that you desire, as this is a personal preference. Garnish with whipped cream, and a sprinkle of brown sugar.

Optional: You can also drizzle with maple syrup on top of the whipped topping.