Review: Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

Charred Virgin Oak
75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Distiller Wild Turkey (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)

This single barrel from Wild Turkey is non-chill filtered, bottled at 55% (incidentally, also the proof that whisky goes into the barrel at Wild Turkey) and is selected as a single barrel product by the master distillers at Wild Turkey. In the 1950s and 1960s, bourbon started to tend toward lighter styles as it was competing with scotch - but two people, particularly, guarded big strong bourbons - Jimmy Russell at Wild Turkey and Booker Noe at Jim Beam. Russell recently retired, leaving his son Eddie at the helm of Wild Turkey. This bourbon, is, in a sense, a tribute to Jimmy Russel and his preference for strong bourbons, being the premium single barrel released from the distillery, selected from the middle racks of the warehouses at Wild Turkey which Russell finds as the best locations for aging.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: LL/CC221251

  • Bottling Date: ~2014

Restrained, oddly, on the nose at first. Rich corn, light earthy oak, peanut butter, dried apricot, apricot jam, apple jam, puff pastry, and tahini. Quite oily on the palate – hazelnut oil, perhaps, and packing a bit of a punch, though the flavour is felt more than tasted, sort of strong and empty. Finish is ever so lightly nutty on the end, and has a bit of stewed apple. Better with a bit of water, on both the nose and palate. Light, dry oak on the finish.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $87.