The first time I had this whiskey was on my first visit to the Wild Turkey Distillery during my first visit to Kentucky. That’s a lot of firsts to pack into one whiskey. I think back on that visit fondly. It was back when I could visit a major distillery and have samples that I hadn’t tasted before (because I hadn’t tasted that many yet). I’ve been on the Wild Turkey tour a couple more times since and I always make sure I grab a sample of the Russell’s Rye just for old time’s sake.
Fast forward to a couple months ago. I was looking at my editorial calendar trying to plan out what the next month or so of reviews would be when I made a startling discovery. I’d not reviewed any of the Russell’s Reserve line. And even more shocking, I’d never even bought the Rye. For something that has become somewhat of a tradition for me, the thought brought me up a little short. My search for the next new thing had allowed me to pass over this one I enjoyed. For years. That changed. Fast.
Russell’s Reserve Rye
Purchase Info: $32.99, 750 mL. Marketplace Liquors, Savage, MN.
Details: 6 year old. 45% ABV.
Nose: Cheerios cereal, mint, cherry and a hint of cedar.
Mouth: Nice tingle. Flavorful. Mint, clove and oak.
Finish: Cereal, mint and a nice long heat fading to a pleasant bitterness.
Thoughts: Though I was surprised by the Cheerios on the nose, it was quickly followed by the more expected mint and wood. I like this rye, it’s got enough heat to keep things interesting and a good minty oak flavor. It’s got a nice finish. The tingle sticks around for a decent amount of time before fading to a bitterness that makes me want to take another sip. The price is good too. Especially since I just saw a bottling of a 7 year old MGP rye going for $90.
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