Today marks the conclusion of our three-part series on the Russell’s Reserve lineup from Wild Turkey. Over the past few months we’ve sampled Russell’s Reserve 6 year Rye, Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Bourbon, and now Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon. As we have previously discussed, the Russell’s Reserve lineup is produced using hand selected grains by Jimmy and Eddie Russell, the best barrels are sourced from the “center cut”, or level 4 of the rick house. Similar to the 10 year and the Rye, the Single Barrel is aged in American oak casks that have been charred with a #4 char. A #4 char represents the casks that have been charred so heavily that the interior resembles an alligator hide. This heavy char helps create a dynamic flavor profile that we will discuss later.
Each barrel of Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon is individually bottled at a higher proof and non-chill filtered to guarantee maximum flavor and deeper color. What makes the single barrel bottling process unique is that instead of mixing aged bourbon from various barrels and then bottling, the bourbon in the bottle you buy is only from that single barrel it was aged in.
You see, flavors can vary from barrel to barrel so by mixing them together you can crate a very similar profile in your flavor across multiple barrels of bourbon. This is what you get when you’re buying most (non-single barrel) whiskies. By bottling each individual barrel and excluding the mix (or blend) of other bourbons you get a truly unique flavor profile that differs from barrel to barrel. Recently we were lucky enough to sample this unique bourbon from the comforts for our tasting table. And here’s what we discovered…
- Proof: 110 (55% ABV)
- Nose: caramel, vanilla, dark fruit, oak
- Flavor: spice, vanilla, toffee, spicy wood
- Price: $39.99 (750 ml)
Scoring a 9.4 out of 10, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel is one of the best tasting bourbons we have gotten our lips on in quite some time. On the nose you will get a nice blast of caramel and dark fruit. Soon after, notes of vanilla and oak will fill your nose. Upon your first sip you will taste the oak you smelled but it has a very definitive spice to it, almost as if the oak was aged in kitchen spices. In addition you will find some warm undertones of vanilla and toffee with the hints of that dark fruit flavor. The bourbon comes in at 110 proof so it definitely packs a punch. If you are typically drinking your bourbons in the 90 proof range, the first sip on the Single Barrel will have an extra burn up front. Once you settle into the bourbon, you will get past that burn and start to get into a very rich and balanced flavor profile. Since each bottle you buy could come from a different barrel, you can get a different experience from each bottle. We sampled 3 bottles from different barrels and while the profiles were similar, there was some definite differences across the bottles. Each bottle was fantastic and knowing that they would have different aromas and flavors made the tasting experience a lot of fun. If you are looking for a bottle to impress your palette or your bourbon drinking friends, then we suggest you look at the Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel. Enjoy!
MIX IT UP WITH… “Bourbon Neat”
Ingredients: 2 oz Russell’s Single Barrel Bourbon
Directions: Uncork your Single Barrel Bourbon and pour 2 oz of the bourbon in to your bourbon glass. Sip and enjoy the Russell Family creation. If you want to take the edge off of the 110 proof, take about a 3rd of an ice cube and drop it in.