WRFFWThe Woodford Reserve Distillery in Kentucky, has announced the launch of latest release in its innovative Distillery Series.

Woodford Reserve Frosty Four Wood (45.2% ABV) is a unique batching of mature Woodford Reserve bourbon, aged in American Oak and finished in barrels made from maple wood, sherry wood and port wood.

Commenting on the new release, Chris Morris, said: “Frosty Four Wood is the last of a historic whiskey specialty, as the original Four Wood was the first of its kind to touch four different barrels. It represents a rare moment that extends beyond bourbon and amplifies current flavours found in Woodford Reserve.”
Developed by Master Distiller Chris Morris, the Distillery Series which launched in 2015 with the Double Double Oaked and Sweet Mash Redux expressions, is said to showcase Woodford Reserve’s continued commitment to providing an unmatched whiskey experience and leading the spirits industry through innovation and craftsmanship.

The original Four Wood whiskey, in the 2012 Master’s Collection, was exposed to record-low temperatures during the 2013 Polar Vortex, resulting in flocking, or mineral precipitation. Filtration techniques produced a more fruit-forward whiskey with maple hints.

Woodford Reserve Frosty Four Wood, is now available from the distillery and specialist retailers for a RRP of $49.99 for a 375ml bottle.

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Woodford Reserve announces the launch of its Kentucky Straight Rye

woodford ryeWoodford Reserve has announced the release of its latest permanent product extension, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey. This latest release showcases the company’s ongoing commitment to both whiskey lovers and innovation within the industry.

Woodford Reserve Rye (45.2%) is the third permanent line extension to join the portfolio, which includes the original Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select and Woodford Reserve Double Oaked.

When it comes to the craft of bourbon and whiskey, Woodford Reserve prides itself on maintaining an original and contemporary approach that focuses primarily on the adjustment of one of the five sources of flavour. To complement and emphasize the spice characteristics found in the original Woodford Reserve, the Rye uses a base that’s 53% rye, resulting in a liquid that’s both more balanced, and refreshingly subtle.

Since 2006, Master Distiller Chris Morris has been hard at work crafting a rye that’s worthy of the Woodford Reserve name. Because of the consistency of the mash, rye is notoriously more difficult to craft than a traditional bourbon, requiring more attention to detail throughout production, leaving the bulk of production to only the most experienced Master Distillers.

Commenting on the new release, Chris Morris, said: “One of the primary reasons behind Woodford’s growth into the number one selling ultra-premium[i] bourbon in America is because of our commitment to flavour, and that’s something that’s engrained in everything we do. Not only does it affect how I approach bourbon production personally, it’s the lens through which we view the future of Woodford Reserve, and I couldn’t think of a liquid that better embodies that than the rye.”

Woodford Reserve Rye is produced with the same heritage and tradition that surrounds the site of the iconic Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky. As early as the mid-1800s, the site has been the location for visionary distilling practices, an attitude that Oscar Pepper and Master Distiller James Crow, the first people to distil at this location, fully embraced. Together, they perfected several whiskey production processes that continue to be used throughout the industry and have since become synonymous with great whiskey. Today, the Woodford Reserve Distillery is visited by more than 130,000 visitors each year.

Woodford Reserve Rye will be initially available across the US from February, for a RRP of $37.99.

Maker’s Mark sued over ‘handmade’ claim on label of its bourbon

"Maker's Mark isn't new to this question," said bourbon expert Chuck Cowdery, who cites wax dipping and human oversight of processes as evidence that the company can claim that its bourbon is "handmade.
“Maker’s Mark isn’t new to this question,” said bourbon expert Chuck Cowdery, who cites wax dipping and human oversight of processes as evidence that the company can claim that its bourbon is “handmade.

The Kentucky bourbon maker is the latest high-profile spirit to face legal claims over labeling.

Maker’s Mark has been accused of lying about hand-crafting its premium bourbon by two California residents.

The Kentucky bourbon maker is the latest high-profile spirit to face legal claims over labeling.

A potential class-action lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego, alleges that Maker’s Mark’s advertising and business practices are false and misleading under California law. The plaintiffs are seeking damages of more than $5 million.

Maker’s Mark, with its trademarked red wax, is one of the most popular and best-selling bourbons, selling more than 9 million bottles a year. It has a passionate following among bourbon drinkers, who fought last year to keep it at 90 proof. The company is undergoing a multimillion expansion to ramp up production in Loretto.

Maker’s Mark “promotes its whiskey as being ‘handmade’ when in fact defendant’s whiskey is manufactured using mechanized and-or automated processes, which involves little to no human supervision, assistance or involvement, as demonstrated by photos and video footage of defendant’s manufacturing process,” alleges the complaint, which was filed Friday.

Beam Suntory, parent company of Maker’s Mark, issued a statement in response: “This claim is without merit; we will defend this case vigorously and we are confident that we will prevail,” spokesman Clarkson Hine said. “Beyond that, as a matter of company policy, we don’t comment on the details of matters in litigation.”

The label on the bottle says “Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky Handmade,” but the suit alleges that the process includes a mechanized or automated process of grinding/breaking up the grains; mixing grains with yeast and water; transferring to fermenting vats; and bottling.

Bill Samuels signed bottles in the bottling room at Maker's Mark on Friday June 21, 2013 in Loretto, Ky
Bill Samuels signed bottles in the bottling room at Maker’s Mark on Friday June 21, 2013 in Loretto, Kentucky

Other spirit makers have been challenged legally over claims on their labels, which are all approved by the federal government.

A class-action suit was filed this year against Templeton Rye, alleging that the labels violated state laws against deceptive advertising by selling whiskey made in Indiana as if it were produced locally with a Prohibition-era recipe in Iowa. The company announced in August that it will change the label to acknowledge that the rye is made in Indiana, but the case is proceeding.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka, based in Austin, Texas, also has been sued in San Diego by a consumer who alleges that spirit isn’t handmade.

“We disagree with the claims made against us and plan to defend ourselves against this misguided attack,” Tito’s founder Tito Beveridge said in a written statement provided to the Austin American-Statesman in September.

In Maker’s Mark’s case, two plaintiffs, Safora Nowrouzi and Travis Williams, allege through their attorneys that they wouldn’t have bought the bourbon if they had known how it was really made. Williams allegedly bought a bottle on Nov. 17 for $32.99; Nowrouzi allegedly bought a bottle for $58.99.

They claim that they were lured to paying higher prices by the label’s claims that “Maker’s Mark is America’s only handmade bourbon whisky — never mass-produced” and “We’re proud of our unique and full-flavored handmade bourbon,” according to the complaint.

The complaint uses video and photos from Maker’s Mark’s distillery tour that show modern equipment, rather than antique machinery, to crush grain. The suit also shows a pipe delivering mash into a wood fermentation vat, alleging that the “elaborate system of pipes” and electronic controls show that the mash isn’t “handmade.”

“As a result of defendant’s misrepresentations regarding its Maker’s Mark whisky, plaintiffs and other putative class members were induced into purchasing and overpaying for the product under the belief that the whisky they purchased was of superior quality because it was ‘handmade,'” according to the complaint. “Had plaintiffs and putative class members been made aware that Maker’s Mark whisky was not in fact ‘handmade’ they would not have purchased the product, or would have paid less for it, or purchased a different product.”

Chuck Cowdery, a bourbon expert who is also a Chicago attorney, said that the Maker’s Mark case appears very similar to the Tito’s Vodka filing.

“I’m sure somebody noticed ‘handmade’ on the Maker’s Mark label and figured the case is just as good against Maker’s as it is against Tito’s, and Maker’s (i.e., Beam Suntory) has much deeper pockets,” Cowdery said by e-mail. “Maker’s Mark isn’t new to this question. They have always pointed to the fact that every bottle is individually dipped in wax by hand. One might also argue that constant human oversight of all processes is a component of ‘handmade.'”

‘Incredible craze’ over new Maker’s Mark bourbon

Makers-Mark-Cask-Strength-Bourbon-featuredMaker’s Mark is making a new limited bourbon that has a higher alcohol content and it is causing an “incredible craze … like nothing we’ve ever experienced,” chairman emeritus Bill Samuels Jr. told CNBC Wednesday. It is called “Cask Strength,” and it varies between approximately 108 and 114 proof.

“High-proof alcohol takes a little adjusting too but this stuff is amazingly approachable,” Samuels said in an interview with Closing Bell.”
The response has been amazing, he added, and is really part of an overall trend that’s emerging in the restaurant and beverage industry.

“The American people are starting to enjoy and appreciate flavor and not just in spirits. It’s good for us, and not so good for vodka. Not so good for white wine, good for red wine. And really good for restaurants that aren’t chains,” he said.

“It’s about craft, it’s about tradition, it’s about good taste.”