Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris

The latest in the Woodford Reserve Distillery Series made its debut today. This release is not a bourbon at all but a whiskey. Not to mention it’s a whiskey that’s meant to taste like a beer.

Inspired by the popularity of micro-breweries Master Distiller Chris Morris and team decided to explore using malted grains typically used for beers when crafting their new Five Malt whiskey. The result is a distinctive flavor profile that is established within the grain recipe and aging process. To obtain the desired sensory elements, unlike bourbon, minimum wood exposure is used. Five Malt is a whiskey distilled from malt mash then aged in recycled Double Oaked barrels for six months resulting in warming malt notes with a coffee flavored finish.

Woodford Reserve Five Malt Whiskey
Woodford Reserve's Distillery Series Five Malt Whiskey
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Looking closely at the label, you won’t find the word beer anywhere because technically, it’s a whiskey but when you taste it, it tastes beer like. The series highlights Woodford Reserve’s ongoing dedication to innovation and craftsmanship in the spirits industry.

What Are the Five Malts?

As the name implies, this Woodford whiskey is made up of five different malts normally used for making beer. You won’t find this detail on the label but, you will find it here. The five malts are, Two Row, Wheat, Pale Chocolate, Kiln Coffee and Carafa. Here’s a breakdown of the percentage of each malt.

Woodford Reserve Five Malt Whiskey Grains
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The Same Bottle and Label Design is Shared Across the Series
Woodford Reserve's Distillery Series Five Malt Whiskey Cap Label
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4th in the Series

This release is the fourth in the Distillery Series. The full series includes,

  1. Double Double Oaked Bourbon
  2. Sweet Mash Redux Bourbon
  3. Frosty Four Wood Whiskey
  4. And now, Five Grains Whiskey

Why Do You Do These Limited Editions?

Doing these relatively small runs for a distillery the size of Woodford is actually very disruptive. With the demand for their flagship premium brand Woodford Reserve Bourbon growing every day why would you halt bourbon production for an experiment like this?

Chris’ answer, “It’s fun! These are like holidays for us. Everyone (at the distillery) gets so charged up. It’s a break in routine, everybody is so proud and excited to do something fun and different. We’ve learned through experience and consumer contact that people come to Kentucky as we know for Bourbonism as Mayor Fischer (of Louisville) says is so important. And they all come and I’ve been in the visitor center (in the distillery) and people ask, ‘What do you have here that I can’t get back home?'” Today’s answer is Woodford Reserve Five Malts Whiskey.

 It Doesn’t Taste Like Woodford Reserve

While visiting the distillery Chris shared a story about the time they introduced another limited edition brand 12 years ago. “When we introduced the Masters Collection with Four Grain in 2004, in the pot still shaped bottle, it says Four Grain on it, Woodford Reserve Four Grain. And I’ll never forget…it sold out in one day, it hit the shelves on Monday morning and we were told by Monday night, it was all gone, a 1,000 bottles. We had three complaints…the one complaint that stuck out in my mind was, ‘I don’t like it, it doesn’t taste like Woodford Reserve!’ What more can you do?”

Only Available at the Distillery and Select Stores in Kentucky

This limited edition is only available at the distillery in Versailles, KY and a select number of retail outlets. Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris says, “This is our reward to whiskey aficionados and bourbon aficionados, that come to Kentucky, visit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and obviously visit Woodford Reserve, while you are doing that go to our local partners, package stores, bars and restaurants and you get something special…it’s only here.”

Tasting Notes for Five Malt

Woodford Reserve's Distillery Series Five Malt Whiskey Taste Test
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The taste test we shared actually compared the whiskey to a variety of stout and porter craft beers.


Color: Pale Honey

Aroma: Rich malty coffee, caramel and chocolate notes lightly spiced with anise.

Taste: Toasted malt with traces of coffee, caramel, vanilla and soft oak explode with a burst of honeycomb sweetness.

Finish: Long warming malt notes with a hint of coffee linger on.

Five Malt is available for purchase beginning June 16 at the Woodford Reserve Distillery and select retailers in Kentucky. Like other Woodford products, Five Malt is 90.4 proof and has a suggested retail price of $49.99 for a 375ml bottle.

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Woodford Reserve Five Malt Whiskey
Woodford Reserve Five Malt Whiskey
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