This K&L exclusive barrel of Russell’s Reserve is everything I love about Wild Turkey turned up to the Nth degree. Back when I reviewed the Russell’s Reserve 10 yr. Small Batch I said that if someone asked me what does bourbon taste like that I would offer them a glass of that, and I still stand by it. After the 10 we would of course explore wheated bourbons, traditional bourbons, more high rye etc., but to bring it all home I would end with this.
If you’re reading this while trying to decide if you should buy a bottle or not there are 2 things to keep in mind. #1 This is a single barrel bottling which means exactly that. They took a single barrel of whiskey and bottled it so unless you go to K&L and get a bottle from barrel 14 like I did your experience is going to be a little different. #2 Just about everything Wild Turkey makes is amazing so it’s hard to go wrong. Especially when you’re dealing with their small batch or single barrel stuff.
Overall… damn. This is some utterly fantastic bourbon. I make no pre-tense to hide the fact that I’m a Wild Turkey fanboy, but I do feel like despite my love for them I also judge their stuff fairly. I have no qualms stating that the 80 was a horrific mistake and the 81 is best served in cocktails, so when I say that this is without a doubt my favorite bottle of Wild Turkey I hope you take me seriously. This some of the most deep, complex and rich juice I have ever had from Russell and Co.
Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Review
Age: 8-9 Years
Distiller: Austin, Nichols Distilling Company
Mashbill: 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malt
Caramel and dark fruit leap out of the bottle with toffee and vanilla coming hand-in-hand right behind. Oak and rye fill in the background with some well placed contributions from cinnamon, red licorice and mint. This is such a deep, rich and complex nose I could keep smelling it for hours and come across something new with damn near every sniff. Just while typing this up I’ve picked up burnt sugar, butterscotch, browned butter and bruleed pastry. This is astoundingly rich.
Dark fruit, caramel and an entire rack of baking spices start things off. Wood comes right behind with rye in tow while toffee and vanilla, still holding hands, come skipping through. Dark honey, corn, pink peppercorns and mint fill in most of the empty spots with that Wild Turkey fingerprint providing a solid flooring for all these amazing flavors, and then some, to dance on. Like the aroma this has an insanely rich and complex flavor and I feel like I could sit and pick out flavors for hours while exploring this one.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Brilliantly balanced with the strong rye and wood keeping the menagerie of sweet flavors in check. A thick full body that’s warm, syrupy and feels heavy on the tongue with just the right amount of burn to keep things interesting.
Wood, toffee, caramel, rye, dark fruit, vanilla and mint slowly fade to a warm sweet wood on a pleasantly long finish.
Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Updates
- 9/13/16 – Finished this amazing bottle of Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel and it’s… amazing. Loved this whiskey from beginning to end, but updated the score to reflect my current scoring matrix.