In what sounds like incredibly ironic timing, Brown Forman is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for its claim that there are more than 200 flavors to be discovered in a bottle of Woodford Reserve KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Several complaints were made by consumers from multiple states, among them Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, and Nevada, of which no one discovered more than 4 flavors.
Bourbon & Banter was able to secure one of the complaints, made by one, Jay Canoodle, of Columbus, GA. The document states that despite multiple attempts, Mr. Canoodle was only able to decipher some pedestrian vanilla, caramel, and oak notes from his Woodford purchase.
FTC agents were seen at the Woodford Reserve distillery in Versailles, KY, in mid-November, where they demanded the completed research on Woodford’s 200 flavors claim. They then spent the better part of a week conducting a recount of all tasting notes, which were more than 3,500 in total.
The recount determined that indeed there was massive fraud in the initial tally. The claim originated after the famed Louisville accountant, Candace B. Rittenoff, calculated all results & informed Brown Forman that more than 200 flavors were detected. The FTC recount revealed that the results were not tabulated by any actual accountants and that somehow, an employee in the mailroom whose sole responsibility was to inspect incoming packages for dangerous materials & hyper aged whiskey, tallied the results.
More than 25% of the flavors were the result of misspellings of the word caramel on the tasting notes. Other errors included 37 different spellings of marzipan and more than 156 flavors that after consulting with the FDA, the FTC determined didn’t exist. Also worth noting is that the mailroom employee was a recent hire, having spent many years as a circus performer. He became fond of bourbon just before leaving the circus, after spending time with someone in upper management.
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Brown Forman did not return our initial requests for comment, but Bourbon & Banter’s confidential sources have revealed a new Woodford ad campaign is set to launch soon. The plan is to bury the 200 flavors campaign and focus on “your favorite flavors in one bottle.” What exactly that means we have no idea. Does it taste like lasagna, steak, donuts & ice cream?
More to come from the most honest team in all of bourbon
For now, please enjoy this rare consumer panel feedback video that we obtain through our super secret insider sources.