Tag Archives: Russell’s Reserve

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel

wtrussell_sreserve01                                           We here at Talking Bourbon are generally fans of juice from Wild Turkey, including the standard Russel’s Reserve which we reviewed a few months back. Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel is the same Whiskey that is in Russell’s Reserve which is also the same as Wild Turkey 101. RR is just aged for 10 years compared to the 6 or so for the 101, and the RR Single Barrel is just that, bottled from a single barrel without any blending. We have mentioned before that they blend Bourbons to get a certain taste profile, to assure some measure of consistency. While they still look for a certain taste profile in the single barrels, there will be some differences between bottles from different barrels.

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel is bottled at 110 proof in the same somewhat short bottle that all the Russell’s lines are sold in. It sells for around $50 to $55 and can be a little hard to find.

One note on finding or buying it. They have changed the label. The bottle is the same size and same color label as the regular Russell’s Reserve, so it is easy to over look the words Single Barrel in the bottom part of the label.


Todd:   A really nice nose of all the traditional aromas I look for in a Bourbon. Oak, caramel, brown sugar and leather were the prominent scents. A little less forward was vanilla, spice, toffee and honey. Interestingly, I lost most of the aromas when my ice melted.

Ron:   Somewhat of a hot smell with caramel and spice upfront followed by oak, almonds and a hint of mint and brown sugar. I actually picked up a bread aroma once my ice had melted.


Todd:   Hot neat but expected that at 110 proof. The spicy Rye and caramel really come through. Also got tastes of oak, and tobacco.

Ron:  Yeah, I agree, little too hot neat. Once the ice had melted a bit I picked up some spiciness as well as grain and caramel. Also came away with something I can only describe as a clean taste.


Todd:  Medium long to long with sweet brown sugar and a bit of mint.

Ron:  Medium long with a nice warm caramel finish. Also picked up that slight bit of mint.


Todd:  Very nice Bourbon but probably a little over priced.

Ron:  Really good but falls a bit short relative to it’s price point.

Nose     4.5 out of 5

Taste     8.25 out of 10

Finish    4.25 out of 5

Total score     17 out of 20 Barrels

While we both enjoyed RRSB, we didn’t find it that much different or better than the standard Russell’s Reserve. The juice in the bottle was aged for 10 years in both cases, $20 seems a little high just to make sure your particular juice came out of only one barrel.

Still, if you feel like splurging, there are some worse things to spend your money on than Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel.



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.

Russell’s Reserve


Russell’s Reserve Small Batch, named after Wild Turkey’s famous master distiller Jimmy Russell. RR comes in a medicinal shaped corked bottle that sells for around $30 and can be found at most stores that sell spirits. It is bottled at 90 proof and aged 10 years.


Ron:    Besides the usual suspects, caramel, vanilla and citrus, I got tobacco, sorghum and a hint of cinnamon and red fruit.

Todd:   The first and overwhelmingly dominate aroma for me was apricot. Behind that I picked up some oak and honey. I like to say it had a nice mellow nose.


Ron:   Very smooth at 90 proof with quite a bit going on. I tasted almost everything I got on the nose with spice replacing the red fruit.

Todd:   Nice and sweet and surprisingly not too hot neat. In fact I think I liked RR better without ice. I got the apricot that I smelled along with a lot of little things, citrus, caramel, vanilla and oak.


Ron:   Medium finish with hints of caramel and tobacco.

Todd:   Medium to medium-long finish with a slight medicinal taste.


Ron:   Pretty balanced and somewhat complex with lots of flavors, but they don’t necessarily blend well. This creates a good drink rather that a superb drink.

Todd:   I have to agree with Ron, this is right on the precipice of being a great Bourbon at a very good price. To me it just lacks something, it is still very good, not just great.

Nose    4.5 of 5

Taste    7.5 out of 10

Finish   4 out of 5

Total Score     16 out of 20 Barrels

This was a  hard one. Russell’s Reserve has a lot going for it, nice nose along with a smooth taste that has a lot of flavors. But neither of us were overwhelmed by the overall product. We didn’t come away thinking ” can’t wait to try this again.”

Having said that, we would recommend you try this yourself. Also, if you find it on sale in the mid $20s, pick up a bottle.