On November 3, 2016, I had the opportunity to meet Elizabeth McCallWoodford Reserve’s Master Taster and sample their Eleventh Master’s Collection Release at Re:public Restaurant & Bar in Seattle.

(Photo Credit: Re:public)
(Photo Credit: Re:public)

With my friend Mishana in tow, we entered Re:public for the first time and were immediately in awe. The massive bar carried an extensive amount of top shelf liquor, mixers, wine and beer.  My eyes were drawn towards the top of the bar, where the Woodford Reserve collections were prominently featured.  We managed to find two seats at the bar while we waited to speak with Elizabeth. The bartenders themselves were incredibly friendly and very attentive to our needs as I ordered a Manny’s Pale Ale and Mishana ordered a red wine.  We started off sitting at the end of the bar and two other seats had opened up towards the middle.  The bartenders cleaned that section off and offered for us to sit there so we could see the televisions better (Thursday Night Football was on!).  I think it’s safe to say that I will be bringing many more of my friends to Re:public as our experience was top-notch.

The flavor wheel (Photo Credit: Lesley Haenny)
The flavor wheel (Photo Credit: Lesley Haenny)

Eventually, Lauren Duin, Senior Account Executive for WE, introduced herself to us and sat us down with Elizabeth.  The four of us blondes bonded immediately over our love for all things bourbon and whiskey.  Lauren brought out the flavor wheel which was customized for the Pacific Northwest and included Beecher’s Cheese, hazelnuts, dried cranberries, Washington apple slices, chocolate covered espresso beans and Kentucky sorghum molasses.

Eleventh Master's Collection Release with Brandy Cask Finish (Photo Credit: Woodford Reserve)
Eleventh Master’s Collection Release with Brandy Cask Finish (Photo Credit: Woodford Reserve)

Woodford Reserve Master Distiller, Chris Morris, created the Eleventh Master’s Collection release by starting with Woodford Reserve bourbon, which was then finished in Korbel California Brandy casks for two years.  Elizabeth pointed out that finishing the bourbon in the brandy casks accentuated the dried fruit and nut flavors on the tongue. The release itself has a sweet aroma medley for the senses, including chocolate, maple syrup and caramel drizzled over toasted hazelnuts, dark raisins and dried cranberries. The palate tastes toffee-covered dried fruit and toasted hazelnuts with just a touch of lingering caramel as you finish.

Elizabeth had us try each item from the flavor wheel followed by a small sip of the Master’s Collection. I loved that Woodford Reserve kept the flavor wheel local and unique to the Pacific Northwest.  The combination of flavors with the bourbon danced across my tongue with each bite and sip.

(Photo Credit: Lesley Haenny)
(Photo Credit: Lesley Haenny)

I am always pleasantly surprised with how much a good quality bourbon or whiskey like Woodford Reserve enhances the taste of food.  The complexity of the cheese married itself with the bourbon and as Elizabeth pointed out, the flavor profile for both were very similar.  The sweet nuttiness of hazelnut was amplified dramatically with the pairing. The tartness of the Washington apples and dried cranberries intensify the berry notes of the bourbon. My favorite pairings were the chocolate covered espresso beans and the molasses.  The bourbon pairing reminds you that both are not just sweet on the tongue, but incredibly spicy as well.

From L to R: Lauren LAST NAME?, Elizabeth McCall, Ruben (Re:public bartender), Mishana Egan and Lesley Haenny (Photo Credit: Lesley Haenny)
From L to R: Lauren Duin, Elizabeth McCall, Ruben (Re:public bartender), Mishana Egan and Lesley Haenny (Photo Credit: Lesley Haenny)

Woodford Reserve once again proved why they are one of the best producers of bourbon and whiskey in the world. I highly recommend the Brandy Cask Finish for your own sipping pleasure.

Click here for more information on the Brandy Cask Finish.


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