Back in December, we told you about the new Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon. Now the folks at Wild Turkey would like us to mention it again, since it should be appearing in a store near you very soon if it's not there already.
As we told you in December, Russell's Reserve began in 2001 as a Wild Turkey line extension, named in honor of veteran Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell. As the brand has evolved, it has looked less like a line extension and more like a brand in its own right.
The folks at Campari America, which owns Wild Turkey, still know their way around vodka (Skyy) a little better than they do bourbon, so they can be forgiven for not realizing that "Small Batch Single Barrel" is redundant. They do know we like high proof (110° proof or 55% ABV) and don't like chill-filtering.
For any Wild Turkey whiskey, 110° is just about barrel proof because they have an unusually low barrel entry proof. The point of high proof whiskey is not that you're supposed to drink it that way (a little water is recommended), but that you're getting something very nearly straight from the barrel and are not paying for extra water. That's why we like high proofs.
We also like label age statements on whiskeys that cost $50 a bottle, but we don't get one here. That's too bad. The other two Russell's Reserve expressions are a 10-year-old bourbon and a 6-year-old rye, and they're more modestly priced. Considering its higher price, the Single Barrel should have one.