The Russell’s Reserve series started when Jimmy Russell selected some barrels to be released in rather limited batches some years ago. Currently his son Eddie Russell is involved too.
These two stalwarts of Wild Turkey Distillery have been around forever and if memory serves, the son of Eddie (grandson of Jimmy) is getting involved in distillery management too.
People working for 60 years at the same company seems to be a thing in America, and things staying in the family is too.
Generally these Russell’s Reserve bottles aren’t available in The Netherlands, but this one recently popped up at Whiskybase at a very reasonable price. With all the ‘Stay the Fuck Home’ tastings I could use something affordable and tasty, with a bit of a backstory to it. A bottle was on it’s way soon.
Some very crisp herbs and spices up front, with mint and aniseed. Right after that the dry rye notes and a whiff of orange comes through. I think I get a tiny whiff of white pepper in the background, as well as some oak.
The pepper is much more noticeable on the palate, with fresh black pepper added to the flavors. Again, the orange and mandarin are quite pronounced too. The mint, which is a bit of a staple in rye whiskeys, is pushed back quite a bit. There is oak, after the pepper wanes a bit.
The palate suddenly shows the dry rye notes at first, quite a bit more than on the palate. After a second or two, three, the oranges come by and after that, the dry rye and oak notes linger most.
First of all, this is a very good rye whiskey. It’s not crazy in its dryness, nor is a 90%+ rye whiskey. There is still some sweetness, but the notes of oranges and mandarin, with the dryer notes playing second fiddle works really well. Thoroughly lovely.
What’s also interesting is that this was quite well received in the recent tasting I hosted online. Generally, the people I do the tasting with that are most vocal are Scotch drinkers with a bit of an aversion to anything non-Scotch. However, this one was surprisingly well received, while the general consensus is that the rye and bourbon I serve everyone is a necessary evil in the tasting.
So, quite good stuff at quite the affordable price tag. I might have to pit this head to head against the Rittenhouse BiB soon…
Russell’s Reserve 6yo, Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, 90 proof / 45%. Available at Whiskybase for € 52