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Saturday, June 27, 2020

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Rye (current green label)

This was the first new whisky I tried when I moved to Ohio almost four years ago. And by "new" I mean this green label version of Russell's rye is on a different plane than the old version. My first reaction was (per my notes), "dessert rye, but without going the full gooey like Angel's Envy". I'd been looking for a regular fancy-ish rye to replace Rendezvous Rye (since High West changed the recipe), which had replaced Willett (since Willett had capital "A" Arrived). This is a quality nominee.

Brand: Wild Turkey
Owner: Gruppo Campari
Range: Russell's Reserve
Distillery: Wild Turkey Distillery
Location: Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
Mash Bill: 65% rye, 23% corn, 12% barley (maybe)
Age: ???
Bottle code: LL/FC151802 B1702D0159
Alcohol by Volume: 52%
(from bottom third of my bottle)

The nose begins with a mix of spices, from baking spices to dried chiles. Then there's brown sugar, dried pineapple, sour apple candy, mint extract and anise. Some hints of salt water taffy, brine and bacon in the background as well. The palate's sweet, minty element stays balanced by tart citrus and wood smoke. Some salt, maple syrup and brown sugar in there. Just a little bit of canned pears too. The finish keeps the palate's equilibrium. Sweet (brown sugar and honey) and tart (lemons and limes) with bits of dusty ground pepper and wood smoke.

This rye manages to be both surprisingly complex and very very easy to drink. I'd given up trying to find both those qualities in an contemporary American whiskey, but maybe I shouldn't have. It also works well in a Manhattan, if you're in the habit of applying $65 whiskey to a cocktail. Whenever we empty our current open rye bottles, I'm going to pick up another bottle of this stuff. Hopefully the quality continues!

Availability - Most specialty retailers in the US
Pricing - $55-$75
Rating - 88