For years, distillers and blenders alike have tried to cross pollinate scotch and bourbon. High West Campfire blended bourbon and scotch together; the results were lauded by many but High West used an Islay whisky with tons of peat that made Campfire a non-starter for many. Glenmorangie and others have put out scotches aged in new charred oak barrels that really weren’t that different from scotch from ex-bourbon casks. Glenfiddich put out a bourbon barrel reserve scotch that was only slightly different from their regular stuff. American distillers are now putting out their own 100% malt whiskeys that taste precisely as billed-malt whiskey.
But Chris Morris has done something completely different. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Malt Whiskey.
The Straight in the name of this whiskey is the legal definition. It’s at least four years old unless stated to be less. But the mashbill is not 100% barley malt. It’s 51% malted barley, 47% corn, and 2% rye.
While Woodford has produced malt whiskies as special releases, this is hitting the shelves on a wide basis at the same price as regular Woodford Reserve bourbon.
The color is a lovely honey amber. Slightly lighter than regular Woodford but darker than some bourbons I have tried of late. Nose has corn sweetness and some fruit, and a delightful oak note. On the palate is corn and wood sugars but lighter than bourbon with hints of nutty barley at the end. Mouthfeel is very thick and satisfying.
Really interesting whiskey and is a smooth sipper. For someone that drinks both scotch and bourbon, this is really great. If you have great disdain for either, this will not be for you.
It really is bourbon meets scotch in all of the good ways and none of the bad.