Thursday, July 20, 2017

Russell's Reserve Review

Launched in 2001, Russell's Reserve is named after Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell. While it originally entered the market at the same 101 proof of their flagship product, in 2005 it was lowered to 90 proof. I don't know for sure but I suspect that was due to problems maintaining higher proof aged stock given Wild Turkey's extremely low 107 barrel entry proof at the time. After recently covering the 13 year Wild Turkey Distiller's Reserve which I didn't love, I thought it would be interesting to see how a 10 year version with a similar proof stacks up.
Aged 10 years; 45% ABV; $35
Nose: Classic Wild Turkey rye baking spices, lots of oak, and sugary wood sweets (vanilla/caramel/etc). It has that bold modern Wild Turkey character and while it breaths a little warm you can tell it's not as amped up as the 101 product. Still pretty nice though.
Taste: Sadly, more muted than the nose. Honey and brown sugar sweets up front . Oak and spice take over in the finish along with some light dry cocoa powder. Tastes like what it should on paper - an older, watered down Wild Turkey 101. 
Thoughts: Like the 13 year Distiller's Reserve, the down proofing is really hampering this one. All of the hallmark modern Wild Turkey notes are there including those nice rye baking spices but it's just not very impactful. It lacks the bold punch of 101 and doesn't come close to the depth of the single barrel version but I actually like this better than the Distiller's Reserve. It's a decent sweet, spicy, woody combo that I'd put on par with a more expensive product like Blanton's and better than a harder to find product like Elmer T. Lee. At the price, that makes this a nice, solid, above average daily sipper.
Rating: C+ / B-
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.

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