It's no secret I love Russell's reserve picks. Rapid Liquors 2020 Russell's Reserve single barrel stole my heart and managed to compete with an incredible 13 year release as well. I own their 2021 Russell's pick barrel and am currently storing/aging my infinity barrel in it!
Well, I've got 4 fresh ones for you tonight. I know local picks don't always help the general population, but I have been seeing some people crazing over particular warehouses and floors on these Russell's picks, so why not for the greater good? I'll give you a sneak peak at 4 that are on my shelf as of today. You can tell a few of these won't be long for this world after tonight. One is a local staple that flew well under the radar of most folks. One is a road trip pick up I am nursing my last sips of. One is a gifted couple pours from a great Bourbon Thieves friend, @egilbert09. One is a pick from a store that I've been enjoying plenty of other picks from.
I'm interested to hear if you have tried any of these picks, and if not, if you have a favorite warehouse or floor! Drop a comment and let me know. Now let's get into this flight!
Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Private Barrel Select Bourbon
Company on Label: The Wild Turkey Distilling Co.
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, and 12% Malted Barley
Age: 8 years (All of these happen to be 8 based on their distilled and dumped dates)
Further identification: All of these bottles are store picks from various locations;
Georgio's Liquor: Warehouse A, Floor 4, Barrel #20-0341
Liquor Depot (in CT): "Barrel #4" Warehouse K, Floor 4, Barrel #21-0103
Liquor at the Lake (LAKE HA-HA!): Warehouse CNA, Floor 4, Barrel #21-324
Kappy's 1940 Barrel Society: Warehouse K, Floor 4, Barrel #21-0063
Georgio's Liquors A/4 Russell's Review
Maple and brown sugar to start on the nose, followed by dry oak, vanilla and a hint of peanut brittle. Good dusty oak characteristic all through this glass as well. On the palate I get a muddled cherry, a soft dash of bitters, vanilla bean and coffee creamer sweetness. This is the most 'chill' of all the glasses if you were just looking for a simple sipper that is completely inoffensive. Hell, this could definitely be someone's favorite bottle, but in this flight it's not doing much to shine for me.
Liquor Depot K/4 Russell's Review
Salted caramel, crème brûlée, sweet lemon pledge, and a rich toffee jump out of this glass in intriguing waves. Very well put together nose. So far the best nosing experience of all the glasses. Upon going for a sip there is sweet fruit abound. Cherry, plum, orange peel and mulled wine coat the palate. Yum! Decently long linger that presents a more than satisfying finish. Wow, the nose opened up fabulously with a sip as well. Just a solid pour. There's just a hint of a note of savory vinegar in the glass that might seem like an odd smell for a whiskey, but somehow it fits in to the overall experience just fine. Oh my, returning to this glass is a treat every time. The nose is delectable, vibrant and bright with tangerine, sultanas and flashes of pine syrup. The palate is easy going but packed with flavors like nutmeg, allspice, maraschino cherry juice and a bouquet of floral, candied sweets. This is what I dream about when I am thinking about my favorite bourbon profiles. I think this one could stand up to Rapid's legendary pick I linked in the intro above.
Liquor at the Lake CNA/4 Russell's Review
Light in aroma and intensity on the first nosing. There's just subtle hints of chocolate, peanut shells, woah - then suddenly a wave of birch bark, white paper and funky oak. This has that classic Turkey, older feeling profile. So far the most prominently different of the four. This also has somewhat of that savory smell the Liquor Depot barrel had. The palate is really surprising compared to the nose. Cinnamon hots that come off soft, vanilla bean and amaretto sweetness present well. The linger is slightly tannic with red grape skins and dry prune. Interesting mouth feel that comes off a bit synthetic. There's a touch of leather in the linger, but otherwise it's a mellow oak bomb that rolls all over your tongue.
Kappy's 1940 Barrel Society K/4 Russell's Review
Creamy nose feel to start with a soft caramel, bright oak and dusty molasses profile. Oh wow, a really yummy vanilla frosting has formed in this glass. There's a soft angel food cake feel to the nose as well. The nose feel is syrupy and moist, really inviting me for a sip. Upon doing so I'm greeted with a sweet coffee bean, cinnamon sprinkled maple syrup and a rich mouth coating of caramel and stout. This one really wins out in the uniqueness category for a powerful mouth feel that is quite hard to describe. Coming back to this glass I get that amazing maple syrup feel on the nose, coupled with soft confectioners sugar, key lime pie, and a return to that earthy molasses the glass started with. Sipping this following the other K/4 pick shows off that this barrel packs a bit more spice to it, but not in an herbal way. It's like sharp fruit sweets, almost like when you have a really sugary candy and it almost causes a stinging sensation on your tongue. This is a sweet tooth's delight, but it comes off in a different way I'm again struggling to describe. It's a fun pour that certainly keeps you guessing. Big points for complexity here. Really, really close 2nd to the Liquor Depot K/4 I think. Might get better with time.
Final Ranking: Liquor Depot K/4 > Kappy's K/4 > Liquor at the Lake CNA/4 > Georgio's A/4
I've been through enough pours of these Russell's bottles that I was able to confirm what I already might have suspected. I suspended any of my preconceived notions tonight in an effort to re-evaluate these pours but the winners really showed themselves on this one. I will say that the Kappy's being the highest fill level was a little bit unfairly treated, as I actually find that I tend to enjoy Russell's picks once they get below half full and a little oxidized. It softens some of those spicer characteristics and I always find myself absolutely savoring the last drops of a bottle in small portions as I feel that's where these really shine. Fun tasting regardless; cheers and thank you to all these stores for picking great barrels! Consider that Liquor Depot pick killed. Someone PLEASE find me a backup of that!