Review: Russell's Reserve Single Barrel SP


History:

Russell’s Reserve is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey distilled by the father and son duo of Jimmy and Eddie Russell. Created in homage of Master Distiller Jimmy Russell’s success and tenure at Wild Turkey, Russell’s Reserve is a higher-end product that Jimmy and Eddie drink at their homes, off the clock. The Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel is in the $50-$60 range, but price can varysignificantly based on your geography. It’s non-age stated, but the single barrels are typically between eight and nine years.

Wild Turkey only uses a mashbill of 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% malted barley across their bourbon lineup, but rick house location and a higher char level differentiate Russell’s Reserve from other Wild Turkey products. Russell’s Reserve products can be enjoyed by both novice and experienced drinkers as they have four different offerings; a 10 year 90 proof bourbon, a NAS 110 proof single barrel bourbon, a 6 year 90 proof rye, and a 6 year 104 proof single barrel rye.

Tonight’s review focuses on a Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel store pick from Red Wagon Wine Shoppe in Rochester, Michigan. The pick was located on the sixth floor of Rickhouse B.

Nose:22 (out of 25 possible points)

There’s a nice fruity quality that comes through above everything else. As I sift through the various aromas, I pick up lots of toffee and oak, followed by vanilla and some hints of rye spice.

Palate:21 (out of 25 possible points)

The first sip of this Russell’s Reserve store pick is quite complex, but the oak comes through almost immediately. As the oak subdues, it offers a very sweet, dark fruit flavor that reminds me of the soft candies found at a goodfarmer’s market. The fruit gives way to some floral notes infused with vanilla and toffee. There’s plenty of rye spice that comes through, as well.

Finish: 22 (out of 25 possible points)

The finish almost mirrors the palate, which has significant oak and vanilla followed by toffee, dried fruits, and spice.

Price:9 (out of 10 possible points)

At a price tag of $50-$60, Russell’s Reserve single barrel is a great value of something to have on the bar for anyone to try. While this is a sophisticated sipper, it’s priced well enough for the newbie starting their bar.

Availability: 10 (out of 10 possible points)

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel is available at most liquor stores. Store picks are harder to come by, but because every barrel is different, I’m lumping those together.

Presentation: 4 (out of 5 possible points)

I love the presentation of these bottles. They are thick and heavy and carries a presence on the shelf. The maroon label for the single barrel store pick is not widely used and yet again, stands out amongst the crowd. Where it loses a point to me is the tag that denotes a store pick. The tag is a flimsy cardboard with an elastic band that goes around the neck of the bottle.

Final Report: 87 (out of 100 possible points)

The store pick of Russell’s Reserve from Red Wagon Wine Shoppe is truly a great bottle. It’s in the top two or three single barrel Russell’s picks I’ve owned. Russell’s Reserve is quietly creeping up the list of my favorite store picks to buy and trade for. The sophistication of the nose, palate, and finish are begging me to keep trying to find the next great bottle and crack it open. These single barrels are not just for the experienced bourbon consumer, but for the new drinker, as well.With a total score of 87, I’d highly recommend buying this to have on the bar. For the review, I killed a bottle and opened a new one, which I believe is the last of my four.I’ll be sad when this is gone, but I will have the memories of drinking these with great friends. Cheers!

Blank Johnson

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Jordan GrigsbyComment