Russell’s Reserve Rye

rr-6y-rye-hi                                                                     Like Russell’s Reserve, Russell’s Reserve Rye is made by Wild Turkey and is a tribute to their Master Distiller of the last 61 years, Jimmy Russell.

It comes in a nondescript corked bottle, 90 proof and aged 6 years. We have found it to be available at most places, and goes for around $30. It is the same mash bill as their 81 proof Rye but aged a few years longer. In fact we learned from a Wild Turkey rep that they only have two mash bills, the straight Bourbon and the Rye.

Today we have two new guest tasters, Steve and Kavanaugh. Coincidentally we met them at a Bourbon tasting. They both are big fans of Bourbon/Rye and have been drinking it for a while.


Kavanaugh:    At first I detected a sweet citrus aroma, then on second attempt I was almost overwhelmed by the scent of lemon.

Steve:     I got a lot on the nose, starting with a spicy cinnamon smell with a touch of ceder. Also got a little ethanol and a slight musty scent.

Todd:    A very nice nose of citrus, cinnamon and pear. Also got a slight wood scent. I detected the lemon that Kavanaugh got but only after he mentioned it.

Ron:   I also got the cinnamon and the spice. Also got some honey and caramel, I also caught the lemon but only after Kavanaugh talked about it.

Steve:   I never got the lemon.


Kavanaugh:   I got a woody taste, maybe ceder, along with some spice. Smooth but not a lot of flavors.

Steve:    I tasted the cinnamon and spice that I got on the nose along with some leather and a slight floral note. With ice I detected a taste of grass.

Todd:   A little hot neat, pretty smooth with some melted ice.  Sadly it didn’t seem as complex as the nose had promised. Everything I tasted was slight, including pepper, caramel, and a somewhat nutty flavor.

Ron:    I also thought it was a little warm neat, even though I got more from it when I sipped it without ice. Having said that, the caramel that I got on the nose turned to toffee on the tongue. I also got notes of leather and a woody taste that might be oak.


Kavanaugh:  Medium to short  with not much difference in taste, maybe a little kick of spice.

Steve:  Medium with a sweet after taste.

Todd:    Medium finish, not much added, maybe a little mint.

Ron:   Medium to long finish with a touch of honey.


Kavanaugh:    Liked it better with one cube, would make a good starter Rye and is a decent price.

Steve:   I thought it was a bit flat overall, definitely needs the ice or water.

Todd:    I really liked drinking this Rye but it did not have a lot going on in the taste department.

Ron:   Hate to mimic Todd but I also Enjoyed sipping on this and really liked the nose, but was a little underwhelmed by the lack of complexity on the taste.

Nose    4.5 out of 5

Taste     7 out of 10

Finish    3.5 out of 5

Total          15 out of 20 Barrels

This was another hard one, the score doesn’t quite show how much we all liked sitting around and tasting it. It doesn’t have the complex taste we are used to getting in a Rye.  But at under or around $30 it is not a bad price. In fact we couldn’t think of a Rye, with the exception of Bulleit or Rittenhouse, that we really loved that was around or under that price range.

If you are a Rye fan, you should give Russel’s Reserve Rye a shot. If you have wanted to try a Rye, this would be a good one to start with. Not too spicy or too expensive. It also makes a decent Old Fashioned.

Final verdict from the team, not the best Rye we have tried, but not the worst. We recommend you give it a try.

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