Today’s Single Barrel Snapshot is a selection from a liquor store not too far away from me. RSVP Discount Beverage in Portland, Maine selected this Russell’s Reserve Bourbon from the third floor of Tyrone Warehouse K at the Wild Turkey Distillery, which was distilled on December 20th, 2012. Today I’ll share some thoughts on the selection itself and how it compares to the standard offering of Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon.
Russell’s Reserve Bourbon
9 Years 2 Months
RSVP / Man & Oak
REVIEW & TASTING NOTES
As always, in Single Barrel Snapshot posts, I am going to compare this to other single barrels as well as the standard shelfie…shelfer? Whatever’s funnier.
All in all, it’s hard to dislike Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel bourbon (or rye). While my experience has lead me to believe the standard offering of the bourbon ranges from somewhat pedestrian to a damn good value. At about $55 dollars here in Maine, I tend to have at least one bottle of this product on the shelf at all times. While single barrel selections of it are incredibly rare here (I know of only this selection and one other, from Damon’s Beverage) I do my best to get my hands on as many selections as I can, which affords me the opportunity to really compare the standard product to the various selections from around the country.
On the nose this selection brings forward what I would refer to as “classic Turkey” notes of sweet dark caramel and rich oak, but there’s also an element of pecan wood and brown sugar that are pretty enticing. The first sip is immediately a step above the standard offering in that the layers of sweetness jump straight out at you. Not quite like a candied pecan, but damn close. It’s more of a pecan wood like you would use in the smoker than it is a pecan itself…if that makes sense. There’s a rich layer of oak that I’ve yet to experience in a standard offering of Russell’s Reserve, although it’s nowhere near the level of Russell’s Reserve 13 (which makes sense).
All in all this is a pretty solid selection. Definitely swings above the weight class of the standard offering, and that (to me) is the goal of any single barrel selection. An interesting tidbit for this selection is the proof of the barrel before diluting to 55% ABV (as Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel always is) was 113.4, which means very minimal water was added to bring this to it’s bottling proof.
In chatting with the person who selected this barrel, I discovered they were given two samples to select from. Which is par for the course here in Maine it seems. Damon’s Beverage only was offered two samples to work with on their selection as well [Single Barrel Snapshot coming soon], only one of which even had warehouse information available with it. A damn shame if you ask me.
While I completely love Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel products, I can’t help but feel like the Wild Turkey parent company, Campari, could really use an overhaul of their single barrel program. It feels as though the enthusiasts, whom the program is essentially there to serve, are given less attention than ever when it comes to the barrels and information provided. For more on that, you should check out the Private Barrel Reboot article over on RareBird101.com, because I couldn’t have said it any better myself.
Thanks for checking out this Single Barrel Snapshot. Have a favorite single barrel product? Tag me on Instagram @TheBourbonFinder to share. Cheers!
I mentioned Russell’s Reserve 13 above. Below is a video review we did on Weekly Whiskey.
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I got into bourbon for the flavor and experiences associated with it. As I found more bourbon I enjoyed, the need to dive deeper into the history, brands, and technical side of things converted me into a total bourbon geek.