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Russell’s Reserve Bourbon Head to Head - 13 Year vs. Single Barrel 8 Year Pick

Is Russell's Reserve 13 year worth chasing? If you're here to answer that question I hope this head to head review helps you! Check out my full reviews of each of these in the related post section at the bottom of the page. I have been blinded to which pour is in which glass for fairness.

Scroll slow if you want to read the notes and rankings without seeing the reveal at the bottom.


Left Glass Review:


  • Dark chocolate

  • Spice

  • Caramel

  • Dry oak / vanilla

  • Sweet fig; almost red wine

  • Something really funky; approaches a light vinegar note

  • Definite old oak note; solid depth

  • Intense black pepper & molasses

  • Marshmallow

  • Smells like higher proof


  • Caramel forward

  • Cherry rise is delicious

  • Long linger of cinnamon, but not as spicy as cinnamon hots

  • Yummy citrus delivery

  • Vanilla linger

  • Tannic red grade, fig & jam

  • Intense mouth coating; wine-like

  • Definite full body to this, one for those with a sweet tooth


Right Glass Review:


  • Sweet fig & cherry

  • Spicy Oak

  • Caramel

  • Something dry but smooth in texture

  • Funky & more herbal spice than other glass

  • Paper dryness, but with a bit of butter behind it

  • Never have I ever smelled this in a glass, but tomato basil red pasta sauce & meatballs... very briefly

  • Slightly metallic but in a chocolate + cloves kind of way

  • Really fun nose


  • Syrupy sweet cherry

  • Cinnamon pop

  • Thin to start but nice rising delivery

  • Light vanilla cream dusted with citrus zest

  • Black pepper bite

  • Creamy long caramel linger

  • Delivers a little proofy but fades quickly into a flavor bomb

  • Sweet, but not overly so

  • I drank this glass faster, for what that's worth, if anything


Final Ranking: Left Glass > Right Glass, but they are incredibly close

Reveal: Left Glass = 13 Year

Right Glass = Single Barrel 8 Year Pick

I had these identified correctly. Having come off the 13 year tasting I knew it had some intense figgy. & jammy sweetness that bordered on a wine profile which definitely gave it away. There also are some slight nuances in the level of the oak intensity that gave away the age difference. I honestly could go either way on these pours rank-wise. At times the 13 year is almost too sweet for my preferences, but I'm sure many will enjoy that. I think this pick from Rapid Liquors is just an exceptional example of where Russell's picks can get to in terms of quality and will likely not represent the entirety of their line, as is expected with single barrel offerings. Let me know what you think if you have tried either!


Company on Label: Wild Turkey

Whiskey Type: Bourbon

Mash Bill Percentages: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Barley

Proof: 114.8°

Age: 13 years

Further identification: Russell's 13 comes with a white top label and a blue bottom label; it is NCF stated

Company on Label: Wild Turkey

Whiskey Type: Bourbon

Mash Bill Percentages: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Barley

Proof: 110°

Age: 8 years

Further identification: Rapid Liquors store pick Barrel 20-0164. Distilled 09/19/11, dumped 03/31/20, bottled 05/21/20 from Warehouse E, Floor 4


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