I love having friends that are as into whiskey as I am. Especially when they have access to a different set of liquor stores than I do. In this case, my friend had access to Haskell’s, a local chain that no longer serves my part of the metro. They closed the location nearest to me when Total Wine came into the market.
At the time, I thought that was a fair trade off. While that location had once had a magnificent bourbon selection, it had shrunk considerably by the time they pulled out. I haven’t soured on Total Wine. You can still get a screaming deal on a bottle of Four Roses, Jim Beam or Wild Turkey. But, now that Total Wine has started to replace many of the smaller national brands with their own “Spirits Direct” bourbons (many of which are that disgusting Terra Pure crap), they are less useful if you want to explore the category. That, of course, is why I visit many liquors stores and spread my liquor budget around. Sometimes you get a good price, sometimes a good selection, and sometimes you get really tasty private selections.
And that is why I am thankful to have the friend I mentioned above. He has still has a Haskell’s near him. And apparently since my location closed, Haskell’s has started buying a number of private barrels, including few from Wild Turkey. When I stopped in there were two different Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel picks. I grabbed the one labeled “Bold and Spicy.”
Private Selection: Russell's Reserve Single Barrel (Haskell's Staff, Bold and Spicy)
Purchase Info: $59.99 for a 750 ml bottle at Haskell’s, Bloomington, MN.
Details: 55% ABV. Barrel#: 17-095, Rickhouse B, Floor 5.
Nose: Floral with strong notes of dusty oak. Lighter notes of mint, apple and vanilla follow.
Mouth: Nice thick mouthfeel. Very spicy with cinnamon, clove, leather, sweet vanilla notes dominating with hints of green apple underneath.
Finish: Sweet, spicy and long. Lingering caramel sweetness.
Thoughts: Having just recently checked in on the Russell’s Reserve Small Batch, I’d say that this follows the Wild Turkey flavor profile more than the Russell’s Reserve one. Which is definitely working to its advantage. This is delicious. It is sweet and spicy and very rich. Big fan of this one.
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