A delicious addition to my collection courtesy of the Parentals for Christmas, I had no idea what to expect from Russel's Reserve other than a my Dad telling me that it was Cask Strength and therefore likely to be a little strong. I got a chance to have a wee dram of it to celebrate The Youngest Spawn being born and finally got a proper tasting in late last week and I can report that it is indeed, strong stuff. But that doesn't mean it's not delicious either.
Russell's Reserve is a Single Barrel Bourbon matured in American White Oak barrels It's non-chill filtered and a hefty 110 proof. (The description also references an 'alligator' char, but I have no earthly idea what that might be other than, 'it makes this stuff tastier.') This delicious stuff falls under the wings of Wild Turkey (which to be honest, I enjoy greatly. Probably more than I enjoyed Maker's Mark, though I should probably revisit that at some point) and is the brainchild of the only active father and son duo of bourbon master distillers in the world: Jimmy and Eddie Russell.
(Honestly between this and Four Roses- which is my other Christmas present this year, this stuff is making me want to go back to Kentucky again- though perhaps this time we'll head up to Lexington and check out some distilleries around there. Or some other beautiful sites in the Bluegrass State.)
But enough of my tangents and babbling. Let's give this a taste, shall we?
Color: The color on this stuff is absolutely gorgeous- it's a deep, dark, rich shade of amber that comes very close to matching the color on the label itself. Everything about the color alone promises a delicious, tasty experience. It's a great hook, right off the bat.
Nose: Strangely enough, banana. I think it's probably the first time drinking whiskey that I can say that I've gotten a whiff of banana, but there you go. It took me the longest time to figure it out- but nothing else fit. Banana is there, but toffee is the underlying sweetness here. There's also a tantalizing hint of nuttiness of some kind that I want to call nutmeg. I know for sure it's not cinnamon.
Palate:It's nicely balanced. The viscosity isn't too syrupy and it's not too watery either- but the cask strength becomes immediately obvious. This is good stuff, but it's strong stuff.
Finish: Like a punch in the face, this stuff hits you hard and in a rush, but the warming afterward is gradual and universal. It will warm the cockles of your heart and then some.
Overall: Smells beautiful, looks beautiful and tastes amazing. It's strong stuff, but unique and enjoyable. Would I buy this again? Well, I didn't technically buy it all, but if someone asked me 'hey, should I buy this stuff?' I would say, 'hell yes!' My Grade: **** out of ****