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Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Rye Review

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Rye Review

  

Background

The Russell's Reserve brand of whiskeys is produced by Wild Turkey located in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The brand encompasses 4 products:

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Rye was introduced in September of 2015 shortly after the the RR brand had a major packaging redesign. Prior to the release of the single barrel the only rye in the RR lineup was the 6 year old, 90 proof which has been on store shelves since 2007. All the ryes produced by WT including the RR brand use the same 51/37/12 rye mashbill. 

Up to this point my only experience with WT/RR rye products is the WT 101 Rye which is hard to beat considering you can grab a 1 liter bottle for about $30. We know that WT101R and RRSBR are both at least 4 years old because they contain "Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey" on their labels without an age statement. The RRSBR is non-chill filtered and clocks in at an additional 3 proof points. But is that really enough to command double the price in a smaller form factor? I think you can see where I am going with this and if you can predict my next review you get a cookie. Moving on. 

Details

Cost: $7 per 1 oz pour at Bar Mash (Mercantile & Mash) in Charleston, SC. Typical retail for a 750ml bottle is around $65 in SC. 

Distillery: Wild Turkey

Proof: 104

Age: NAS but at least 4 years old.

Mashbill: 51% Rye / 31% Corn / 12% Barley

Filtration: Non-chill filtered

Tasting Notes

Pour: 1 oz neat in a short stemmed tulip glass.

Nose: Baking spices, caramel, day-old oatmeal raison cookies. dill, and menthol. Something else herbal and oily. Epazote?

Palate: The body is surprisingly thin considering the non-chill filtering. Also hot for only 104 proof.  White and black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and caramel. Bright and sharp.

Finish: Medium short and somewhat thin. Low impact. Lingering coarse black pepper with misc baking spices. 

Score: 2.5/5

Thoughts

This whiskey did not exhibit the characteristics I would expect from a 104 proof rye. The palate was hot where it should have been warm and the finish was short where it should have been longer. The nose was the best part of this rye and gave me high hopes. Where did that dill and menthol come from and why wasn't there more? What happened afterwards can only be described as just OK. Now one huge consideration is that a single barrel is exactly that - a single barrel. There is always going to be variation between barrels but is this the typical flavor profile for this product? Without trying other single barrels it's hard to say. 

Price is not factored into my score but for $65 there are much better options out there and some for much less. For that kind of money I could grab 2x 1 liter bottles of WT 101 Rye or a single barrel, cask strength HW Rendezvous Rye. The list goes on. My recommendation is to sample this at your favorite watering hole before plunking down hard earned cash on a bottle. Cheers.

Recommended: High West Rendezvous Rye, Wild Turkey 101 Rye, Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey, Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 Year Straight Rye Whiskey

- Mark Millonzi @ Entry Proof

Wild Turkey 101 Rye Review

Wild Turkey 101 Rye Review

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Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon Review