I’d like to thank Mark Bylok and Jamie Johnson at The Whisky Topic for having me on the Podcast and discussing all things whisky. My episode will be up soon. What does that have to do with this bottle?
Well it’s owned by Mark, so thanks for dram sir! He has a book, he has a podcast, he shows up to Toronto Whisky Society events, etc. Look him up if you’re into whiskey, he’s a huge nerd, and has great things to say about Bourbon more often than me. Or don’t, that’s up to you. I know you’re busy.
But enough about what little I have going on these days.
I’m finally getting around to trying Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye, and I know what a lot of you are saying: This guy doesn’t like bourbon too much, is this going to suck?
Well I’ll have you know I’m a Wild Turkey fan, so you can cool your jets. I’m approaching this in a fun way.
For those of you who are lost, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye is a product made by Wild Turkey. It’s continuously changing, slightly, as it’s a single barrel product, however the method of making it (non-chill filtered, 104 proof, same mashbill, cask type is #4 charred American white oak barrels) is the same each time. It’s picked out by Master Distiller Eddie Russell, who once uppercutted a Kodiak bear for not liking it (Citation Needed).
Well I enjoy rye every so often, and I enjoy Wild Turkey. Let’s see how this one holds up, shall we?
Price: Currently not available at the LCBO
Colour: 2.5Y 8/12
Nose: Cornbread, peach, cereal, smokey, cotton, cherry, honey
Initial smack in the face of bourbon notes. I double check the bottle. I make sure my gracious host hasn’t roofied me. I check to make sure his dogs haven’t either. All is fine. The dogs think I’m nuts now.
Given some time, you’d think this was a wheated bourbon with the nose on it. I’m waiting for a rye heavy, spicy, floral, or orange note, but they aren’t here. I make sure I’m not screwing this up with a second glass. Nope, still there. Confused.
Taste: Honey, dry, peach/stone fruit, caramel, cereal
Nice honey notes, with some peach notes that I could see as nectarine as well. They are half developed. Adds to it. It’s not super fruit forward, more dry.
Think white wine over peach juice. Probably should usually do that. Unless you’re driving or underage.
Finish: Wood, banana, mineral, wood/oak, vanilla, mascarpone
Nice and woody finish. Needs a little time. Wood progresses, but has more of that vanilla oak element. It grows as you leave it. This is a whiskey that needs an hour each time you sip it.
Finally has this almost fluffy, creamy note at the end that comes out of nowhere. And no, I’m not somehow stealing milk from my host.
Conclusion: This is a really interesting whisky. First off: If you were expecting an orange or spice filled rye, it’s not that. I’d argue that something happened at some point to get us here.
I mean, it tastes like a really well developed bourbon. If I was drinking it blind I’d guess a low corn mashbill with wheat instead of rye. Very little spice, very little in way of floral or orange. And that’s not for lack of trying.
Honestly this is a bottle you buy for fun. Each one is going to change, somewhat, and that’s the great part about single barrels. I’m happy with it, at the end of the day, and would have it around as a daily drinker. Loved the finish. May not be your thing if you are wood sensitive.
Bourbon review #195, Kentucky review #122, Whiskey network review #1086