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Woodford Reserve Chocolate Malted Rye

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Woodford Reserve Chocolate Malted Rye

The name of this bourbon, Chocolate Malted Rye, could lead one to believe that it is a rye, or maybe that’s just me, because that is what I initially thought. Its full name clarifies things: Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Chocolate Malted Rye Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. So this is a rye bourbon, with the distinguishing feature being that the rye used in this bourbon is a chocolate malted rye.

People familiar with beer are used to hearing terms like chocolate malt, caramel malt, crystal malt, pilsner malt, etc. These terms don’t refer to additives, like chocolate or caramel, but rather to the degree of roasting that the malted barley (or in this case rye) undergoes, and the flavor characteristics or colors that the roasting is said to impart. The idea is that different degrees of roasting will bring out different flavors, and the degree of roasting of this particular malt is said to yield a chocolate flavor.

Mash bill:
70% corn
15% chocolate malted rye
15% distillers malt (malted barley)
90.4 proof

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My Tasting notes:
Nose: Caramel, some apples and sweet fruit with a touch of cedar and a hint of rye spice. The nose doesn’t predict at all what is to come.
Taste: Some rye spice and the chocolate malt flavor starts coming through.
Finish: The chocolate malt flavor continues and becomes dominant and long lasting. But in a good way.

I don’t get much in the way of chocolate flavors, but more of the chocolate malt itself. Think of a roasted, toasted graininess. I used to homebrew beer and used to taste the grains all the time, so I have some familiarity with them. Particularly in the finish of this bourbon, the chocolate malt flavor becomes very evident. This may be what some perceive as chocolate flavor? I found this bourbon very unique and did enjoy it. Would I want a second pour? Honestly, perhaps not, but it is definitely worth a try if you happen across it at a reasonable price. Cheers! 🥃

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