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Russell's Reserve 10 Years Old

Russell's Reserve
10 Years Old Bourbon


By Robert Plotkin

The Wild Turkey began operations in 1855 and in that time the distillery has only had 4 master distillers. Since 1954 that position has belonged to Jimmy Russell. During his watch he's adhered to the traditional ways of producing whiskey and has faithfully maintained the standards established by his predecessors. High among his achievements is a remarkable whiskey bearing his name—Russell's Reserve 10 Years Old Bourbon Whiskey.

The small batch whiskey pays tribute to both the man and his convictions about how to make the finest bourbon. Russell's Reserve is handcrafted from a mash bill containing at least 51% corn, along with rye, malted barley 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. The Kentucky straight bourbon is aged in new, deep-charred, white oak barrels for 10 years and bottled in limited quantity at 90 proof.

Russell's Reserve is an Olympic class bourbon with a deep amber color and a velvety medium-weight body. The whiskey has an engaging and generous bouquet of vanilla, caramel and toasted oak. Its soft, warm entry expands rapidly filling the mouth with a lavish array of creamy rich flavors. It's a tantalizing offering of vanilla, toffee, orange zest and a whiff of smoky char. Thankfully the flavors linger on the palate for a remarkably long time. Russell's Reserve Bourbon is a class act from start to savory finish.

It should be noted that Jimmy Russell collaborated in creating the reserve bourbon with his son and Wild Turkey's associate distiller, Eddie Russell. Although a relative newcomer to the distillery with only 27 years experience on the job, the junior Russell is the apparent heir apparent to the master distiller's job when his dad retires.

Jimmy Russell has also overseen the release of several other world-class whiskeys. Limited release Wild Turkey Rare Breed is comprised of 6-, 8- and 12-year old bourbons blended to ensure consistency between batches. It's bottled undiluted, unfiltered and at barrel-strength, which ranges from 109.6 to 112 proof.

Rare Breed is an exceptional whiskey, a top-shelf bourbon with a silky lightweight body and an enticing bouquet of leather, vanilla and spice. The lip-tingling entry bathes the palate with spirited warmth and rich semisweet flavors. Its long lasting finish is laced with the taste of vanilla, toffee, spices, nuts and honey. The delectable whiskey is certainly appropriately named.

Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit is another of Jimmy Russell's elegant creations. The single barrel bourbon is unblended and bottled entirely intact at the distillery's trademark 101 proof. The copper colored whiskey has a plush medium-weight body and the seductive aromas of almonds, honey and spice. Its complex palate rapidly expands filling the mouth with the flavors of caramel, toffee and orange citrus. Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit is an unforgettable bourbon experience.

Russell Reserve, Rare Breed and Kentucky Spirit make it easy to appreciate why our indigenous whiskey has captured the imagination of aficionados and enthusiasts around the world. A grateful nation extends its gratitude to Jimmy and Eddie Russell.