About Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Aged Cask and New Cask Rye Whiskey
Founded in 1838 by Elijah Craig, Woodford Reserve Distillery is the oldest Kentucky bourbon distillery still in operation today. Under the stewardship of Oscar Pepper, Craig's oldest son, and master distiller James Crow, the distillery improved and modernized the process of producing whiskey in the United States — it introduced the concepts of sour mashing, yeast propagation and copper pot distillation.
Today, nearly two centuries later, Chris Morris — Woodford Reserve's seventh master distiller — pays homage to Pepper and Crow with the Woodford Reserve Master's Collection, an annual release of a bourbon or rye whiskey crafted by Morris specifically to honor the distillery's innovative and pioneering history. Morris, who began working at Woodford Reserve Distillery when he was just 16 years old, is one of the foremost experts in the production and maturation of whiskey and samples up to 180 unique whiskies each day. "It's about pursuing flavor through modernizing old practices," says the 55 year-old.
Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Aged Cask and New Cask Rye Whiskey were made from 100% rye grains. "This idea has a great tradition," says Morris. "Bartenders appreciate a rye whiskey, and I wanted to give it a try." Once the grains were harvested, they were mashed and fermented at the distillery in Versailles, Kentucky (100% rye mashbills are notoriously difficult to ferment). Then, the wash — the liquid that remains following fermentation — was triple distilled through Morris' copper-pot stills.
Following distillation, a portion of the whiskey was aged in new, American oak casks while the remainder was aged in American oak casks that had previously been used to mature Woodford Reserve Bourbon. After aging for an average of seven to eight years, each of these limited edition ryes was brought to proof and bottled separately.
Woodford Reserve New Cask Rye Whiskey has an aroma of brown sugar, caramel and a hint of spice. The aroma opens up to notes of cinnamon, woody spices and honey on the palate, and leads to a lingering, spicy finish that is noticeably warm.
Woodford Reserve Aged Cask Rye has a lighter color than New Cask Rye, along with an aroma of honey and molasses. The initial notes of brown sugar, toffee and milk chocolate are complemented by notes of burnt sugar and caramelized oranges, and lead to a smooth, soft finish.
Pick up these two limited edition ryes today!
As American as the bald eagle, rye whiskey was first brewed in the American Northeast in the 1600s. Even George Washington distilled it after leaving the Oval Office, so there’s no way of denying its origin.
It’s distinguished from bourbon for its original and unique spicy notes.
By law, rye whiskey must be made from at least 51% rye grain, aged in new and charred oak barrels for at least two years, and bottled at no more than 62,5% ABV.
Check out our impressive selection of rye whiskeys, find your new favorites in The best-reviewed rye whiskeys, and explore our treasury of Best rye bottles under $100.