Russell's Reserve 13 Year Batch 1 (LL/JD) Bourbon Review
A highly sought after new release from Wild Turkey is up for review today! This release is another Eddie Russell special which was crafted as a new age stated Wild Turkey product. This one should be easier to find than the only older age stated release, 16 year old Russell's Reserve 2003. It has recently started distributing nationally, but in fairly low quantities. Because of that, there has been a lot of clamoring to acquire this one for many whiskey enthusiasts.
A lot of excitement goes into something of this caliber and pedigree. I found myself getting caught up in it as well. I'm hoping to be able to let folks who don't have one yet know what they are (or are not) missing with this review and maybe convince a few people who are hoarding them to get them open and shared. I was astounded to find and purchase my own bottle which I knew would make for a great tasting. I am just recently coming off the heels of one of the best Russell's Reserve Single Barrel store picks I've tasted to date, and I have even higher hopes for this. But hopes are not in a whiskey reviewers best interest.... So I tried this a few times to get past the new bottle jitters and let it air a bit before finally getting prepared to sit down and review it fairly. Well about a week after opening, I'm ready to do just that. Here goes!
Company on Label: Wild Turkey
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Barley
Age: 13 years
Further identification: Russell's 13 comes with a white top label and a blue bottom label; it is NCF stated; update as of 3-Sep-2022: this is the LL/JD laser code original batch 1 release that came out in April of 2021
Nose: Dark chocolate nibs on the first introduction freshen to the glass. Prevalent sweetness throughout. Lovely strawberry and fig. Strawberry smell is almost fuzzy in my nostrils. Well-aged oak is certainly present from the start. Creamy citrus is riding on the back of the fig note. Feels like a spicy cowboy has rode into town ready for a gun fight. A little bit of dusty funk I'd attribute to a fairly standard Russell's aroma. Nose is actually incredibly light/airy. Time for a sip. Nose turns much more towards caramel now but also carries a slight astringency like wet paint for a moment. After that passes there is a definitive light nuttiness to this; like a bag of mixed nuts, but smelled from a far. It’s mellow & easy on the senses. The oak finally has returned & brought with it a little of vanilla bean. A bit of proof is evident later in the nose. I almost could mistake this for some kind of wine barrel finish honestly. I wish I could keep going on how this had infinite layers, but the complexity seems to have mainly ended here. Empty glass of chocolate, red grape & funky fig.
Palate: Instant sweetness with rich layers of cherry, molasses, and a smoky strawberry with a heavily charred texture. I almost envision a strawberry dump cobbler in a Dutch oven over a bed of coals & a little ash/charcoal has fallen in after moving the lid too quickly. Lovely fruity mouth coating that spreads to every corner of the palate. Slight wine tannin on the linger, but a great sizzle & pop of chocolate & cinnamon. Beautiful sweet layers to this. Very much desert pour level of sweetness for me; I’d pick this over pie. When I first opened this I was getting much more nuttiness. Now the sweet red fruits are almost overwhelming. I’m really glad I didn’t do this bottle the disservice of reviewing the neck poor as it has evolved dramatically after the first open (this is actually my third open now). Very creamy mouth feel, but drying in the cheeks with the heavier oak. Back of the tongue sizzles with a pop rocks spice. Level, well-balanced & delicious.
As good of a score as this got - so did my last Russell's Single Barrel store pick... To me, this doesn’t have a significant difference and feel compared to that. If you are really banging your head against the wall trying to find one of these - just go for a single barrel pick. I just so happen to have another one of those single barrel picks open… Maybe a head to head next?