Do you love Bourbon? I do, and this is being National Bourbon Heritage Month (and American Whiskey month on TWJ) I felt it only fitting to feature one of my favorites. The Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Small Batch, which comes to us from the fine folks at Wild Turkey, is great and if someone were to come over to my house and ask the question “what’s bourbon taste like?” this is what I would give them. It has that amazing toffee + vanilla +spice that symbolizes the classic bourbon flavor profile and would help them “get it” right away.
On the whole it may be a complex bourbon, but that doesn’t mean you need a trained palate to enjoy it. Most of the flavors live on the surface and can easily be sussed out. Adding ice or chilling it does concentrate the sweetness a bit and the earthy hints tend to go a bit underground as it were, but it’s not a severe change.
Russell’s Reserve 10 year Small Batch Review
Distiller: Wild Turkey
Deep caramel with ruby hints.
Sweet… very sweet. Initially you get smacked in the olfactory with slightly medicinal vanilla and toffee, but if you give it a second to breathe other wonderful scents start to emerge. Hints of red licorice, maraschino cherries, and almonds or marzipan start to unfold and build up a potpourri of bourbony goodness. I would honestly love to have an huge overstuffed leather recliner that smelled like this.
A menage a trois of toffee, vanilla, and spice. Upfront this is what a bourbon should taste like, and like I’ve already said it’s as classic of a bourbon flavor profile as you can get, but there’s more to it than that. If you let it rest on your tongue for a second or two and then slowly move it around a bit some silky hints of corn and earthy rye start to appear alongside whispers of something I can only describe as a pumpkin / apple pie hybrid.
Spice sticks around for a while, but as it fades there is a Creme de Noyaux type flavor, though much less sugary, that hangs around for a minute or so, but fades without leaving any sourness or bitterness behind that you can sometimes get with low quality bourbons.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Medium body and smooth textured it doesn’t numb or burn too much. It’s a pleasant experience and going down it warms without burning. A good balance to the sweet and savory.
It’s a robust bourbon that’s as comforting as a big warm hug… unless you don’t like hugs. In which case it’s as comforting as something else that you do (like a great bourbon perhaps). It’s also a sign that the folks at Wild Turkey aren’t asleep at the wheel and they’re trying new things, which I always like seeing from the distilleries I enjoy.