...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Russell's Reserve 10 year old bourbon (current white label)

The 14 or 15 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day used to mark my Bourbon Season. But over the past three years cocktails have gradually replaced bourbon during the hot weather, even though I live much closer to Bourbon Country than I used to. Russell's Reserve 10yo used to be a preferred bourbon as well, but my last bottle was forgettable at best. In fact, some friends and family finished off the bottle for me during the winter holidays. I saved two ounces for an official review, and since summer has begun....

Brand: Wild Turkey
Owner: Gruppo Campari
Range: Russell's Reserve
Distillery: Wild Turkey Distillery
Location: Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
Mash Bill: around 13% rye (probably)
Age: minimum 10 years old
Bottling code: LL/HH270507
Alcohol by Volume: 45%
(from the bottom third of my bottle)

It noses like I'm trapped inside a freshly charred barrel. That may sound heavenly to some folks, but I really can't detect anything else coming from the whiskey for a while, in fact it takes more than 20 minutes for other notes to appear. Then there's honey, orange peel, walnuts, newspaper and a hint of soap. The palate isn't as tannic as expected, instead there's some simple sweet citrus, tart blackberries, caramel and black pepper. But then it gets very very sweet, and the sawdust comes blowing in. It finishes with caramel, bitter oak, salt, tart berries and sawdust.

The last of my notes read, "Just not feeling this batch." (Curiously, the words "Small Batch" which were on the previous label-style of this expression are now absent. Is it because maintaining a straight face while calling these batches "small" became impossible?) The bourbon felt disposable, or at least interchangeable with younger, cheaper, historically-crappier stuff. It shows less bitter oak on the palate than WT101, but it's possible that 101's nose is better. The aggressive sweetness may also require extra tinkering when one uses this bourbon in cocktails. In case this is just a batch issue, I've listed the bottling code in the info section above. If it's not a batch issue, then RR10 isn't what it used to be.

Availability - United States and Japan
Pricing - $30-$50
Rating - 78