Review: Russell’s Reserve Bourbon (2008)
This is a striking doppelganger to Russell’s appealing Reserve Rye, and the similarities are uncanny. And yet I found myself wishing this was a more straightforward bourbon — it lacks the sweetness that makes good bourbon so appealing, but the rye-like characteristics are too muted here to appeal to fans of the spicy stuff. It ultimately tastes more like a blended whiskey than a bourbon, which will sadly please very few drinkers who are attracted by the promise of 10 years of age.
At 90 proof, the bourbon is improved with a little water, but still it lacks uniqueness. Part of the Wild Turkey family, it shares some of its DNA with its pappy, also displaying distinct apple notes but also coming off as thin. I’ve tried it for four nights running in various proportions of whiskey and water, with consistent notes.
A major bright spot: At $23, it’s an awfully appealing buy for a 10-year-old whiskey, but I’d expect to use it primarily in mixed drinks.