Exploring the Extraordinary: Russell’s Reserve Private Barrel Selection

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of peeking into my whiskey closet, you’d know that my love for Four Roses store picks is only matched by my collection of Russell’s Reserve store picks. It’s not about bragging, my friend. No, it’s about the thrilling adventure of exploring the diverse warehouse maturation styles of Wild Turkey. And I owe it all to my whiskey companion, Rarebird101.

Now, as I scan the ages of my picks, I realize that I don’t possess a single one over 9 years old. You see, there was a time when these exquisite bottles sported a minimum 10-year age statement. But every once in a rare while, a 12 or 14-year-old gem finds its way into the modern Single Barrel program. They are truly precious, guarded by those lucky enough to possess them.

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon: A Surprising Find

That’s why I was taken aback when I discovered that Wiseguy’s Lounge, part of the prestigious Goodfellas Pizza Chain in Louisville, Kentucky, had managed to select their own barrel of an astounding 11-year-old Russell’s Reserve. When my friend James first mentioned the age, I thought he had misspoken. However, a short visit and a lighter wallet proved me wrong. This was indeed an 11-year-old wonder.

Delving into the Intricacies of “Recreational Cough Syrup’s” Origin

Are you aware that there exists a corner of the internet that holds the secrets of each year’s Wild Turkey barrel picks? Would you believe me if I told you that it reveals which rickhouses were chosen, the aging floors, the originating campus, and even provides an approximate age of the barrels? Well, it’s true. You just need to head over to Rarebird101’s website and explore his Wild Turkey Release Calendar.

Personally, I find Rarebird’s calendar to be a treasure trove of information. It helps me identify my preferred warehouses, allowing me to navigate secondary markets with ease. Moreover, it gets my excitement soaring when I glimpse the selection of warehouses for the upcoming year. My personal favorites are Tyrone Rickhouses B, D, E, and K.

But hold your horses! Before you jump to conclusions, deciphering the barrel number uncovers a fascinating truth. This barrel was originally pulled in 2020 for the single barrel program. It may come from a different spot on that floor, but it still originates from the same warehouse. Why has it remained unclaimed for two long years? We may never know the full story behind its solitary journey.

A Toast to the Oldest Modern RRSIB: Tasting Notes

Enough with the exposition; it’s time to savor this remarkable find. Raise your glass to the oldest (modern) RRSIB to grace my palate. I hope it lives up to my lofty expectations. I sampled it neat in a glencairn glass.

Nose: The nose betrays the maturity of this remarkable Russell’s Reserve. It teases with a delicate hint of varnish, reminiscent of the initial batch of Russell’s Reserve 13. Fruity notes dance playfully, evoking images of apple and cherry strudels. The aromatic embrace of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a surprising touch of chocolate adds depth seldom found in Wild Turkey products.

Palate: Enter a world of luscious fruits! This bourbon defies expectations, offering an array of flavors beyond the usual cherries and apples. Prepare to encounter the delightful presence of peach and raspberry preserves, accompanied by a zest of orange. Is it possible that they mistakenly bottled a secret treasure from Buffalo Trace? (Perhaps that’s just wishful thinking.) The oak, while not as ancient as anticipated, balances beautifully with a hint of cigar wrapper.

Calling it “cough syrup” may be exaggerating, yet there is an undeniable menthol-like sensation as you savor each sip. Enthusiasts who relish texture will rejoice in the creamy mouthfeel that defines this exceptional Wild Turkey expression.

Finish: As the journey concludes, notes of cherry crème linger, imparting a sweet and fruity farewell. A dash of baking spices adds a pleasant, enduring warmth. Subtle tannins remind you of the barrel’s time, while an exquisite blend of rye spice and citrus flavors adds further complexity. The finish strikes a simple yet universally enjoyable tone.

A Superb Score: 8.3/10

This outstanding Russell’s Reserve pick ranks high on my list of extraordinary finds. It departs from the familiar modern Wild Turkey profile notes, such as PayDay candy bars and cooked apples. Instead, it dares to venture into a realm of abundant fruitiness.

The oak on the nose, undoubtedly the finest I’ve encountered in a modern Russell’s Reserve, reassured me that the $100 price tag was indeed justified. After spending a week with this marvelous bottle, I can confidently say that it was worth every penny.

A Final Toast to Uniqueness

I often find myself puzzled by the disdain some enthusiasts harbor for off-profile picks. After all, why seek out a single barrel if it merely mimics the rest of the company’s offerings? The true joy lies in discovering picks like this one—those that deviate from the norm.

Now, as for why this barrel remained unclaimed for two additional years, we can only speculate. Sometimes, entire ricks are emptied, leaving behind a couple of barrels that simply weren’t ready to be bottled. Perhaps that was the fate of this barrel. Yet, I prefer to imagine that those two years of solitude transformed this ugly duckling into the beautiful swan it is today.

So, my friends, let us embrace the extraordinary and continue our quest for exceptional spirits. May the next pour be a revelation, and may each sip transport us to new realms of flavor and delight.

Cheers to Russell’s Reserve and the journey it invites us to embark upon.

Ambassadeur Hotel