Review: Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Oklahoma Selection

I had spotted this bottle in the last week or so in a few stores, and the stuff seemed to be going quick so I snagged one for two reasons:

1) I recently had a glass of Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel at a local bar and thought it was fantastic.

2) I’ve been on a mission to start collecting more from barrels purchased by local liquor stores, bars, and distributors/wholesalers.

I did a bit of digging to figure out who was responsible for this barrel selection and all I know for sure is that it is an employee of a large local wholesaler, the individual often will do barrel selections with local chefs and other cool people, and I need to meet this person. Seriously, if you are reading this and you know who this person is, hit me up, I would love to interview them for the site.

Anyways, back to the bourbon at hand. It’s aged in a #4 “alligator” char which both the bottle and the Wild Turkey website claim to be the “deepest available”.  While we know thats not true (there’s a craft distillers #5 char available, and Buffalo Trace has released bourbon aged in a #7 char barrel), #4 is still one level heavier than most, and it does make a difference. This expression is also non-chill filtered which serves to retain some of the character of the whiskey as some of the proteins and fatty acids aren’t removed (you can an excellent article on this process written by Chuck Cowdery here). All that adds up to a bourbon that is big and strong. Let’s get to it.

Company: Campari

Distillery: Wild Turkey Distillery

Location: Lawrenceburg, Kentucky

Mashbill: 75% corn/13% rye/12% barley

Age:  NAS (probably 8 years)

ABV: 55% (110 proof)

Released: May 2015

Price: $43

Color: Dark honey

Nose: This stuff is a bag of brown sugar with some grass clippings and rye mixed in. It smells just great, the aroma is a fantastic mix of spice and sweetness.

Taste: This bourbon is very rye forward. The spice hits you right off the bat and doesn’t subside quickly. Behind that spice there is some nice honey and oak. This is a big, complex, pour with a lot going on. The balance isn’t perfect and definitely falls on the dry side with all the oak, but that’s ok, it totally works.

Finish: The spicy rye and dry oak carry to the finish in huge way as the sweetness quickly fades and leaves hot fire and cinnamon. I feel like I ate a whole thing of red hots.

Overall: I’m really liking this barrel selection. My future best friend that picked it out really knew what they were doing and delivered a whiskey with fantastic depth and character. If you live in this area and see a bottle of this on the shelf, do yourself a favor and buy it on the spot.

Rating: 4/5


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *