Ever been to the Wild Turkey website? If you haven’t, it’s ok. It doesn’t look like they’ve been there for a while either. Videos are missing, the store is practically empty with only three items for sale and Eddie Russell has the wrong title. But it does have a few redeeming qualities. The main one being the featuring of Jimmy Russell.
Jimmy Russell is the Master Distiller at Wild Turkey. He’s been working there for 60 years. At this point, it’s easy to say that Jimmy Russell is Wild Turkey. I had the pleasure of chatting with Mr. Russell this fall while visiting Kentucky. We talked for about 15 minutes and I have to say that I’ve yet to meet a nicer person. He gave us all of his attention for as long as we wanted.
Russell’s Reserve was introduced in 1998 to celebrate Mr. Russell’s 45 anniversary with the company. It was a limited release at first, but eventually became a permanent part of the Wild Turkey line, spawning two further extensions in the Rye and Single Barrel versions. I’ve overlooked it for a long time, only having purchased it once before. It’s 90 proof, spicy and delicious.
Russell’s Reserve Small Batch
Purchase Info: $32.99 for a 750 mL at Marketplace Liquors, Savage, MN
Details: 10 years old, 45% ABV.
Nose: Mint, dried corn, apple blossoms, dried grass, deep underneath is some caramel
Mouth: Spicy and dry. Predominate oak and mint followed by dried corn, brown sugar clove and black pepper.
Finish: Warm in the chest and mouth with lingering oak and mint.
Thoughts: Jimmy Russell has stated publicly that he doesn't like older bourbons and if he’s drinking Wild Turkey I can see why. Wild Turkey seems to show more oak than other bourbons of a similar age so it would be easy to go too far. Especially for someone like me who tends to not like as strong of a sharp oak flavor. Beyond the oak, this shows fairly typical bourbon flavors: sweet balanced with spiciness and mint. It's a nice bourbon, though I think I like the Wild Turkey Rare Breed and 101 expressions a bit better.
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