...where distraction is the main attraction.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Russell's Reserve 1998

The Russell's Reserve brand produces some very reliable American whiskey, so I was very thankful when my friend, Secret Agent Man, offered up a pour of his bottle of the extra-limited 1998 vintage release. According to The Whiskey Jug and Breaking Bourbon, the bourbon spent 15 years in oak, then was put into steel for two years when the Eddie Russell saw that the 23 barrels' contents were evaporating faster than expected. More time in the barrels would have risked “less desirable flavors [taking] over.” Kudos to the Russells for opting against the larger age statement! I knew none of these things when bottled up my sample ten months ago, nor did I realize how desired this whiskey had become.

Brand: Wild Turkey
Owner: Gruppo Campari
Range: Russell's Reserve
Distillery: Wild Turkey Distillery
Location: Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
Mash Bill: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Age: around 15 years old (1998-2014 in oak)
Outturn: 2,070 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 51.1%
 (thank you to Secret Agent Man for the sample!)


The nose is very almondy: roasted almonds, almond extract and amaretto liqueur. There's also raspberry fruit leather and cherries in milk chocolate right in the middle, and a teeny bit of old rye in the background.

The palate has less of a woody bite than yesterday's 9 year old Evan Williams. The almond notes are gentler here than in the nose. Lots of toasty notes. Pinches of salt and tartness. It develops cherry and blackberry notes with time.

Like the palate, the finish shows more toastiness than barrel char. Some salt and savory notes. A little bit of rye and a few tart berries in the back.


This a very nice bourbon that I wouldn't mind sipping in any season, under any circumstances. Despite the aggressive evaporation, the oak and the alcohol are very well incorporated. Is it luxurious? Yeah, probably a little bit. It's certainly better than the majority of the BTAC and Pappies I've tried. As far as the original $250 price tag? I guess if this was going to be Wild Turkey's fancy bottle, at least the quality is there.

But then this:

This is why I've lost interest in bourbon. Sometimes we can choose what we let in and what we don't. The world offers me plenty of hues and tones of Batshit Crazy on a daily basis. This one ain't worth it.

Availability - If you want it, you can find it.
Pricing - potato
Rating - 88