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The video above shows the Weekly Whiskey review of this product, and if you’re checking out our YouTube channel you’ll see Russell’s Reserve 13 lands as an honorable mention in our Whiskey of the Year video as well.
I mentioned in the intro the things enthusiasts clamor for. Let’s take a second to talk about the market segment where Russell’s Reserve 13 occupies, because I think it’s important to view this release with context to the overall American whiskey market (and not the secondary market where you’ll see folks asking insane prices for bottles).
The $50 to $75 price point is a vicious market to be in. Many craft producers find themselves releasing product in this category simply because they lack the leverage/economies of scale to drive prices lower. Some producers find themselves in this range because it provides more margin–capitalizing on the consumer mindset of if it costs more then it must be good. Then there are the large producers who have the capacity and means to release products that could be argued as being underpriced for what they offer. Enter Russell’s Reserve 13.
Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Old pays tribute to the distillery’s heritage and the legacy pioneered by venerated Master Distiller Jimmy Russell while showcasing Eddie’s innovative talents and expert ability to develop supreme flavors through careful aging and a keen sense for identifying only the highest quality barrels. The result is a daring, batch-specific new statement with enticing flavors, such as notes of plum, chocolate, and toasted brown sugar, that speak to the ever-evolving mastery of the Russell family.
Going toe-to-toe with Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, but seemingly with a goal of being a step ahead, is no easy task. Heaven Hill releases three batches per year of their twelve year old, uncut, unfiltered straight bourbon whiskey. How can Wild Turkey top this? One answer is right on the label. It’s older.
Coming to the table with a lower proof than any of the Elijah Craig Barrel Proof batches, but with an additional year of age seems like a pretty solid attack vector to me. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a big thirteen on the front label, making it very obvious you’re getting an older (and presumably premium) product. The other key points are the statements of being barrel proof and non-chill filtered and SRP of $70.
At this point, the only thing left to do is make sure the bourbon inside the bottle tastes great. Let’s have a pour and see how this release stacks up.