November 1, 2010, Louisville, Ky. – Woodford Reserve announces the latest extension of its acclaimed Master’s Collection which will be released on November 1. Called ‘Maple Wood Finish,’ it is the fifth in the series of limited edition bottlings and continues Woodford Reserve’s tradition of crafting rare whiskeys that extend the category in bold new directions.

This whiskey is one of the most unique Master’s Collection’s to date as it is the industry’s first bourbon to be finish aged in barrels made from sugar maple wood. Barrels play a key role in producing bourbon, with approximately 70 percent of the spirit’s flavor and aroma and all of its color provided by the barrel. Woodford Reserve’s new offering features bourbon finish-aged in uniquely crafted barrels made of maple wood, something never before done in the industry.

“Sugar maple trees have a complex natural chemistry, rich in calcium, potassium and other minerals, but they are best known for their flavorful sap which contains as much as 3% sugar,” said Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris. “Though it was thought that whiskey barrels could not be crafted from sugar maple wood, our Brown-Forman Cooperage has done just that. Of all the distillers in our industry, we are the only bourbon company that crafts its own barrels, giving us unique knowledge and control of the process. The Master’s Collection Maple Wood Finish uniquely finish-ages Woodford Reserve in a toasted, not charred, maple wood barrel, resulting in a whiskey enhanced with hints of maple, honey and cinnamon.”

Ever year, one of the five sources of flavor is changed for the Master’s Collection expressions. These five sources – grain, water, fermentation, distillation, and wood-aging – are unique to bourbon whiskey, and altering just one of them creates a totally new flavor profile.

“Bourbon must be matured in new, charred oak barrels, and in our quest to fully understand the contribution oak wood makes to bourbon, we have studied other Kentucky hardwoods as well,” said Wayne Rose, brand director for Woodford Reserve. “This has led to some exciting discoveries and innovative barrel finish concepts. One of these – Maple Wood Finish – is a first for the spirits industry and has resulted in an amazing, elegant whiskey.”

Maple Wood Finish is the fifth in the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection series following the Four Grain, Sonoma-Cutrer Finish, Sweet Mash and Seasoned Oak offerings. Released periodically at the master distiller’s discretion, the Master’s Collection whiskeys are extremely limited in quantity and bottled only once, in a proprietary package inspired by the copper pot stills of The Woodford Reserve Distillery.

The inspiration for the Master’s Collection is rooted in the rich history and tradition of what is today known as The Woodford Reserve Distillery. In the mid-1800s distillery owner Oscar Pepper and Master Distiller James Crow studied and recommended use of key processes like sour mashing and charred barrel maturation at the historic Woodford County distillery. These practices are still maintained in the bourbon industry, and today the distillery receives more than 100,000 visitors annually and is the only one in America to use bourbon triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills.”

Woodford Reserve Maple Wood Finish will be sold in 45 U.S. markets, and a limited quantity will be available in Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. Each bottle is individually hand-numbered and presented at 94.4 proof. Available in major metro markets, only 1,676 cases are available with a suggested retail price of $89.99 for a 750ml bottle.

Tasting Notes for Woodford Reserve Maple Wood Finish

Color:            Golden brown.

Aroma:         Rich and sweet with hints of brown sugar glazed baked apricots, milk chocolate and fresh toasted oak.

Taste:            Warm with cinnamon spice, faint hints of maple syrup, berry fruit and a touch of nuttiness.

Finish:          Crisp with delicate maple syrup notes lingering on with a touch of warm fruit.

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