Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon Review


Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a single barrel non-chill filtered whiskey aged between 8-9 years.  It is distilled and finished by the folks at Wild Turkey.  The Russell’s Reserve line was originally a special release, picked by and named for the father and son Master Distillers at Wild Turkey.  It has now become a standard offering.

To find out more about Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey and their other offerings, please visit the Wild Turkey website:

dsc_5234-2ABV:  55%

AGE: NAS (8-9 years)

SERVED: Neat / Glencairn Glass

COLOR: Deep amber to red in the bottle, but in the glass it becomes more copper and bright amber.

Coats the glass to a thinly but well defined.  It takes quite a while for the legs to form.  When they do, they are thin and widely spaced.  Then after that, drops form at the top of the swirl line.  These drops then slowly fall down the glass, but stop well before joining the whiskey below.

NOSE:  Dark fruits, spices, cinnamon, caramel, licorice, orange peal, and a bit of mint.

PALATE:  Toffee leads the way, followed by citrus, dark fruits, and a touch of oak.  Some honey is present, as well as a bit of mint. When it hits the back of the mouth, the spices jump in pushing forward, and then oak again pushes through.

FINISH: Pleasant heat.  Oak, toffee, vanilla, dark fruits, and a pinch of rye spice slowly fade away for a pleasant and long finish.

OVERVIEW:  The Russell’s Reserve bottles and labeling always confuse me.  For a specialty line one would think a bit more fancy, or certainly less generic looking, labeling and bottle would be in order.  But I find their Single Barrel to be enjoyable.  It is richer than their 10 Year, and the one out of the two that I would reach for if I had to choose between them. It is, though, a bit more pricey.  Is it worth the extra cost?  For me, it is; if choosing between the two.  I can find whiskeys in the price range of their 10 Year that I enjoy substantially more, so would suggest jumping right to the Single Barrel of this line. The only exception for me is if you just like a more mild whiskey (out of the two), and a more sugar cane sweet pour vs caramels.  Do I think it is worth the price asked overall?  If you can get it on sale, and like Wild Turkey whiskeys, sure.  But for me, I would rather grab some Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof at a good $10-$15 less.

ADDED:  With oxidation this whiskey starts to shine.  I am not sure I like it as much as Wild Turkey Rear Breed, but it becomes a much more enjoyable pour compared to a fresh bottle (though it was not bad at all before oxidation).  It is one I would recommend keeping stocked but drink about 1/3 of the bottle and let sit for a month or two (or more) and then share with friends.  I believe the oxidation really helps this one a lot.  Cheers!

PRICE: $50-$55

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