So far on my blog, I have reviewed two products from the Austin Nichols Distillery, Wild Turkey 80 proof and Wild Turkey 101 proof. These are available in many bars and almost every liquor store in the country. They are also consumed by countless college students across America. Today, I am delving into the upper echelons of the Austin Nichols Distillery, with one of its signature products, Russell’s Reserve 10 year, a small batch bourbon named for Jimmy (father) and Eddie (son) Russell, the master distillers at Austin Nichols. Russell’s Reserve has often been described as the “gentle giant” of the Austin Nichols distillery, primarily because it is bottled at 90 proof, well below most of Wild Turkey’s other craft products (Rare Breed, American Spirit, and Kentucky Spirit). As such, Russell’s Reserve is a great summer bourbon, especially because it is usually priced around $30 a bottle.
The journey into Russell’s Reserve begins with a flood of sweetness in the bouquet. Smelling Russell’s Reserve is like smelling a black cherry vanilla milkshake. However, there are some subtle citrus and oak notes that come through as well. On the palate, Russell’s Reserve begins with a good sweetness, reminiscent of the vanilla in the nose. There is some good caramel and roasted corn sweetness that back up the vanilla well. As the whiskey moves towards the back of the mouth, it firms up with a strong presence of the oak and the rye. The finish is perfectly balanced, with good notes of oak, wood spices, rye spices, caramel, burnt brown sugars, and vanilla.
Overall, Russell’s Reserve is a fantastic pour of bourbon whiskey. It takes a journey like few other bourbons I have had. It starts out light and sweet, moves to bold and rich, and finishes by perfectly balancing the two. My grade: B+. Price: $30-35/750ml. This is a wonderful bourbon. It is a great choice for a standard pour after dinner (or in the afternoon, early evening, or while you’re cooking dinner).