The first edition in the Woodford Reserve Master's Collection, Four Grain received rave reviews in a blind-tasting meeting simply themed "Bourbons." It remains a favorite today (although our club bottle was polished off long ago). If you can still find it, snap it up. A must-have.
Maple nose with some rye, clove-like spices. Palate is super-sweet and absolutely delicious, smooth. Finish is great, any heat is desirable, with waves of spice and and sweetness. As far as bourbons go, it's nearing A+, but in the greater world of whiskey it's "only" a very solid A.
Retaste: Not as superbly-stellar as I recalled, but instead "only" very, extremely good. There's big bakery aspects all over this thing, vanilla, and spice. A.
RE-retaste: Well, I don't know what was going on before, or if my palate's just changed, but anyway, it's not as great as I remember it being. Makes me feel sad. I still love you anyway, Four Grain. B+
N: Smells like buckwheat pancakes, butter, rye. P: Big on flavor. Very complex, with a significant rye component but also notes of the other grains as well. Perfectly sweet and satisfying. F: Earthy. Spicy. Good.
Mild, maple nose. Among the most complex bourbons I've tasted. Lots of wheat and rye. The flavor changes and evolves amazingly - cloves and spices come later. Rich taste. I've tasted this multiple times, and have found the wheat/rye characteristics to be a bit overwhelming at times. But this is very good.
The nose has that distinctively Woodford pot-still smell, with some plastic notes and some rye spice. Not a lot of bourbon sweetness on the nose, but the palate starts off very sweet, but a more general sweetness than the traditional corn syrupy bourbon sweetness. The sweet notes are followed by metal, strong rye, a bit of sourness and pine. It seems hot for the abv. The finish is nicely balanced without some of the harsher notes.
N: There's the distinctive thick nose which has the expected elements of marzipan and a hint of banana. It's a little sour and grainy, with an oily smell. There's a solventy, cleaner smelling thng happening too - a little Pine-Sol. It's kind of like a recently emptied grain elevator - definitely something metallic in the background.
P: Surprisingly a little thin on the palate. Again there's the oil and solvent, a little pine, funky rye note. Way in the back is a little vanilla, a little toffee, both trying to peek otu. Not particularly warm and late there's a note of marzipan. It wants to settle on a little sweet note but there's too much to distract.
F: Dries out, shows a little wood and lasts reasonably long. There's some hints of caramel. It's also a little bitter. Some turbinado sugar for good measure.
The palate is completely chaotic to me. The sour nose and unrefined sugar makes it seem relatively young. The noe is a really unfocused, sloppy Woodford nose. As with the vast majority of the Masters series, this is not an improvement.