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Russell's Reserve 6 Years Old Rye Whiskey

Russell's Reserve
6 Years Old
Rye Whiskey


By Robert Plotkin

American rye whiskeys are surging in popularity. It's easy to understand why after a sip or two. They're vivacious spirits with broad shoulders and a lot of personality, a character no doubt molded from our nation's collective self-image. One of the brands at the forefront of the renaissance is Russell's Reserve 6 Years Old Rye Whiskey, a skillfully crafted spirit with pedigree and uncommon good taste.

Introduced in 2007, Russell's Reserve is the handiwork of master distiller Jimmy Russell—only the fourth to hold that position at the venerable Wild Turkey Distillery—and his son and associate distiller Eddie Russell. The straight rye whiskey is distilled in small batches entirely from hand-selected rye and limestone-purified spring water. The grain is slowly fermented in two-story high Cypress wood vats and distilled to relatively low proof, both practices long abandoned by other distillers as too costly or time-intensive. It's aged for a minimum of 6 years in new, deep-charred, white oak barrels and bottled in limited quantities at 90 proof.

Russell's Reserve Rye is a slice of the good life, way too good to share with relatives. It has a rich amber hue, a round velvety smooth body and a wafting, thoroughly sublime nose of vanilla, leather, spice and honey. The whiskey raises little heat in the mouth and immediately bathes the palate with a delectable array of flavors, a semisweet assortment of butterscotch, cinnamon and caramel. The long finish is laced with spice and vanilla. A classic American rye.

Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey is one of the distillery's perennial favorites. The whiskey is handcrafted from a mash bill comprised of 65% rye, 23% corn and 12% barley malt. The grain is slowly fermented with limestone-purified spring water before being distilled in small batches. While the label includes no age statement, Jimmy will tell you the whiskey spends about 6 years in wood. It's bottled at the distillery's trademark 101-proof.

Wild Turkey Rye is an exuberant joy. The deep amber whiskey has a satiny lightweight body and an inviting bouquet saturated with the aromas of spice, fresh fruit and vanilla. The palate immediately expands filling the mouth with spirited warmth and the flavors of honey, toffee, red cherries and freshly baked rye bread. The invigorating finish is spicy and long.

There's no mistaking this gem of a whiskey as anything but American.