I first heard of Russell’s Reserve 10-year in a blog post by one of my favorite cocktail writers titled, Look, you aren’t getting any Pappy… Or, how I learned to stop worrying and enjoy the tedium of American whiskey. Great title right? In part two of the blog post he lists three “unknown underdog” bourbons, this whiskey being one of them. I agree that it’s not as well known as some, but it stands up well to other bourbons in it’s price range.
Russell’s Reserve is made by Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. It’s 90 proof and has a mashbill of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley. Wild Turkey needs little explanation in the whiskey world thanks to decades of consistently good whiskey behind 60-year veteran Jimmy Russell and his son Eddie.
The nose is sweet and well balanced with char, vanilla, toffee, and a faint hint of tobacco.
The taste mimics much of what is on the nose. Which I really like. Vanilla and toffee create a nice balance up front. After a second, maple syrup and leather take over followed by a back end of tobacco and char that linger for quite a while. There’s very little burn and just a touch of spice.
This tastes pretty close to what I prefer in classic, easy sipping bourbons. It has good balance but doesn’t knock you over with complexity like some of the rarer, more expensive bourbons might. For someone looking to get into bourbon this is a great choice, but also a good bottle to have around if you have a large collection going.
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