Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel 550 Review

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel 550 Review

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel 550 is a single barrel of Wild Turkey aged for 10+ years and bottled for K&L which is a release I look forward to every year. Well, these and the K&L Four Roses releases. I know most people these days will flock and frett over the Pappy releases, but it’s so much hassle for so little return it’s just never worth it to me. I’d much rather see what gems the David’s bring out of KY each year.

In K&L’s Words: Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel 550

“The Wild Turkey Distillery is on the short list of my absolute favorite places to visit in Kentucky. It’s not only the picturesque rolling hills and beautiful views over the Kentucky River, but also the familiar faces of the Russell family who have been in charge of the plant near Tyrone for decades. Now that the 3rd generation of Russell is coming into the fold we can see a clear continuity for this special brand long into the future.

Bruce Russell, son of Eddie, is at the distillery learning the ropes from Grandpa Jimmy. Bruce is as passionate, entertaining, and kindhearted as any Russell and will be a fine steward for the brand. In 2011, they opened the new distillery, gleaming and efficient, but never sacrificing key quality elements that set the Kickin’ Chicken apart from the bourbon flock. That’s what the Russell’s really bring to the table, a stubborn refusal to compromise quality.

This special whiskey was distilled at the original facility on the banks of the Kentucky. The first distillery was erected by Thomas Ripy in 1891. Old, wooden, and warn down it was one of the most interesting stops on the bourbon trail, but has since been demolished. Jimmy’s not sentimental. His only concern is to make the best whiskey possible and not dwell on the past. Luckily, we’re still getting great old bourbon distilled at that original site. This single cask, selected from the D warehouse and aged at least 10 years was reduced from an original strength of 111.6.”

And with that, on to the Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel 550 review!

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel 550 Info

Region: Kentucky, USA

Distiller: Wild Turkey
Mashbill: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Barley
Cask: New Charred Oak
Age: NAS (10+ years)
ABV: 55%

Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

Barrel: 550

Price: $60

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel 550 Review

EYE
Dark amber

NOSE
Oak, spice, vanilla, caramel, leather, herbal, dark fruit and bits of banana and a malt-like sweetness. Water doesn’t do much to it.

PALATE
Oak, caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, banana, mint, tobacco and some notes of dark fruit and leather. Again, water doesn’t adjust much.

FINISH
Med -> Oak, caramel and spice.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Decent balance, medium body and an oily feel.

OVERALL
No surprise, the Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel 550 is good. The aroma is bold oaky and sweet with the palate and finish following suite in a way that unfolds into the definition of pleasant. It’s a good whiskey to sniff and sip and it’s anything but boring.

Sitting here, sipping on a glass of this Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel 550, moving my notes from handwritten to typed I can’t help but reflect – literally and figuratively – on the rows of whiskey on the shelves in front of me. I see a BTAC Weller and Stagg peeking out and a bunch of dusty stuff and a bunch of newer stuff I’ve been sent and I realize that despite all of that this is where I often spend my drinking time.

For my habits and preference I’ve noticed I move towards the store picks like this Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel 550 when I’m going to pour a glass. For me it seems like keeping a flow of SiB store picks is really what I’m into these days and only getting the big bottles (BTAC, etc.) if it’s an easy score. It’s familiar yet different and almost always of a high quality.

SCORE: 87/100 (B+)

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel 550 Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 87
  • Palate - 87
  • Finish - 87
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 87

Summary

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel 550 is pretty good. Not killer, but good.

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel 550 Label

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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