Russell’s Reserve Private Barrel Bourbon (Calgary Co-Op Barrel)[Mystery]

Thanks to /u/smoked_herring for this sample.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: I don’t typically drink bourbon. I’m more of a Scotch and World Whisky drinker, that’s just my bias, oh, and also I live in a province where I can either find BTAC through simpler methods or I can’t find Buffalo Trace for months on end. It is what it is.

As such, I’m reviewing a mystery bourbon today, and as such I’m going in very blind. Lack of regular experience means my guess will be poor compared to regular bourbon drinkers.

So what we have today is an extra wrinkle: It’s a single cask bourbon! Let’s see how much it differs, and what the store manager picked out compared to the standard, shall we?

Price: $85 CAD

Region: Kentucky

Distilled: December 27, 2012

Dumped: July 29, 2021

Bottled: August 25, 2021

Barrel #: 21-0687

Warehouse: F

Floor: 4

Selected by: Calgary Coop, Ricardo Escarcega

Checked by: Eddie Russell

Approved by: Jimmy Russell

Abv: 55%

Colour: 7.5YR 6/8

Nose: Honey, oak, mint, butter

The nose isn’t really selling this well, like a deodorant salesman who bathes in old fish. Never met him? Consider yourself lucky, I’m pretty sure it’s an SCP.

Very light nose: Sweet, some oak, bit of mint. Nothing too out there.

Taste: Butterscotch, mint, banana, oak, earth

Alright, what the heck? It’s like the nose was pulling its punches to throw you off on purpose. Big mint note, some fruit, some butterscotch. I can see now why you’d pick this out now.

My lack of regular drinking experience is showing here. The flavours are unique to other bourbons and not something I’d usually get. I am now scratching out my guess on the alcohol percentage from the nose.

Finish: Oak, soap, mint, strawberry, peanut butter

Interesting, floral/spice finish with just a bit of fruit and nuttiness. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with soap-like flavours. I do enjoy floral aspects, but here it feels almost like soap gum, which I think is only a Canadian thing and deserves to be thrown in our failure pit alongside Bryan Adams and the Deifenbunker.

Oh, the bunker is the failure pit.

Conclusion: Really nice whiskey to sip on, don’t let the simple nose turn you off. I didn’t totally love the soap flavour at the end and felt it was a bit muddled, like waking up the day after the Oscars and reading about what happened. Sure, I’m not the target, bourbon isn’t my go-to, but some people would be interested in this.

I thought this tasted like Four Roses OESQ yeast/blend to me. The floral, some of the mint, and all that.

What was it actually? A 9 year old Russell’s Reserve Private Barrel Bourbon, so I was off there, wasn’t I? Certainly changes itself up, and now that I look back at a previous Single Barrel offering I had, I can see the mint popping up again. Will I remember for next time? Stay tuned Junior Detectives and see! (probably not, let’s be honest).


Bourbon review #283, Kentucky review #179, Whiskey Network review #2221

Guess: 6 year, Four Roses, 54%?

Actually: Russell’s Reserve Private Barrel [Calgary Co-Op Barrel]

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