Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon Review [In Depth]
Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon
Total Wine Select
Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon Details
Distillery: Wild Turkey
Type & Region: Bourbon, Kentucky, USA
Alcohol: 55%Composition: 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% barley Aged: ~10 years in virgin American white oak
Color: 1.3/2.0 on the color scale (russet muscat)
Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon overview
Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon is one of two Wild Turkey single barrel bourbons, the other being Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit. Unlike other distilleries such as Four Roses and Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey uses only one mashbill and one yeast for all of their bourbon. For better or worse, it keeps it simple, although I don’t have any complaints.
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Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon smell
Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon has a musty and herbal sweetness – honey, licorice, anise, cherry, other dried fruits, guava, grapefruit, and a little vanilla. Even though the percentage of rye in the mash is relatively low (13%), the licorice, anise, guava, and grapefruit from the rye are all able to come through and be smelled.
While Russell’s Reserve isn’t strongly fruity, I can still find the layers of fruitiness, and it picks up after a few sniffs with more cotton candy-like cherry and citrus. Throughout is a layer of moderately toasted oak, cinnamon, and tobacco that isn’t really that oaky given its age and proof.
Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon taste & aftertaste
Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon has rich honey and caramel sweetness followed by vanilla, cherries, citrus, apple, and licorice. It has this distinct fruitiness that I don’t find in many other unfinished bourbons. There’s also a moderate to moderate-strong oak, cinnamon spice, and overall darkness, but it’s nothing overdone or unpleasant, on par for a well-aged ~10 year old bourbon. The alcohol bites just a little, but it’s 110 proof after all.
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Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon Rating
Wow, I was wrong to wait so long have one of these again because this Total Wine Selection of Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon is excellent. The extra fruitiness in the scents and flavors bring a unique and interesting twist, and it really does it for me. It’s developed enough that in a blind tasting I could be fooled into thinking this was briefly finished.
From memory, I believe that I like this even more than the Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon LL/GA I reviewed, and I actually did that comparison to find out.
To wrap this all up, I declare that Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon, or at least this particular Total Wine pick, is a keeper. I also think this is a solid substitute for Blanton’s (actually just much better), so check my writeup on that topic.
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I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.
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