Wild Turkey created this brand to honor Jimmy and Eddie Russell. It originally was a 10yo Bourbon bottled at 101 proof but then Bourbon took off and things started to change. They dropped the proof to 90. They probably did this to stretch their 10yo stock of Bourbon. Then they decided to do a single barrel version and bottle it at 110 proof. That is what I have here to taste. It is a barrel chosen for the 2018 Kentucky Bourbon Affair. Only people attending the Kentucky Bourbon Affair had a chance to purchase bottles of this particular single barrel. However that should not make too much of a difference because it is typical of the private selection of the brand. Any liquor store or restaurant that has purchased a private selection of the brand is going to have something very similar in quality, even if the flavor profile is a bit different. Wild Turkey is a top-notch distillery and their private selection barrels are always great barrels of Bourbon.
Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon
Age: No Age Statement
Nose: Caramel toffee candy with some fine leather and fruit – dates. There is just a hint of baking spices and oak in the background.
Taste: Caramel and vanilla with dates and cherry fruits. There are some baking spices – nutmeg and allspice with a hint of oak wood. When tasted with a dried cranberry the vanilla and fruit is enhanced and the spice reduced. When tasted with a pecan some orange zest comes out and the spice becomes more white pepper.
Finish: Long, dry and spicy with oak tannins and baking spices. The cranberry enhances the baking spice flavors of the finish while the pecan changes the spice into a pepper spice finish.
I have chosen an Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva cigar to pair with this. I find the smoke is not complex with tobacco and vanilla flavor dominating the flavor. I was hoping this bourbon would enhance the flavor and I was not disappointed. The Bourbon added some pleasant spice notes to the smoke while the smoke brought out the vanilla in the Bourbon. It was a good choice but I think I will have to pair this Bourbon with a more complex cigar in the future.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller