If you’ve read through this blog before then you’re aware I’m fond of the work the Russells do over at Wild Turkey. With that in mind, and some fond memories somewhere in the bleary past, I was unable to pass up when my local liquoria had a sale on Russell’s Reserve. I first bought this bourbon about a year before, intended for consuming with class at a New Year’s shindig at the house of my girlfriend. We were all decked out nice as if we were actual adults and I sipped and enjoyed this bourbon. As fate would have it another reveler had brought Russell’s Reserve Rye and we had a little side by side and chatted and there was much imbibing and 2013 came in with a drunken slur. My subconscious obviously remembered this fondly, because I ended up buying this bourbon around the New Year too. I didn’t bring it to the New Year’s jam / failed bonfire / bloodbath soirée I attended this year though. A note on the bloodbath thing: all injuries were ice related and none were incurred by the author. Anyways, I drank Grandad that night and New Hampshire’s own Smuttynose (one of which froze in the circa zero temps). Somehow, the Russell’s Reserve has been sitting around on the bar as décor, and as the occasional luxury. Which seems to be kind of strange, but also seems to fulfill its stated purpose–it’s called Reserve so I’ve been keeping it on reserve.
The thing is, Reserve is a pretty affordable bottle. I think I paid $23 for it, which really is just the top end of a daily drinker’s price. The thing is, that just didn’t feel right. I bought cheaper bottles and let Russell stretch, a glass at a time over weeks, even though I didn’t really have to. See, if you forget about price you’re going to think you’re drinking something a bit rarer, more valuable, and naturally want to preserve the treasure. So while Russell’s Reserve cost me just a couple bucks more than your standard 101, it comes across with a certain sophistication. This sophistication comes from the balanced of warmth of 90 proof of vanilla, cinnamon and a wonderfully rounded caramel. You could chew this and get a little oak out of it too. When that warm elixir sinks down your throat you’re left with a light and rich flavor that my brain is interpreting as Heath Bar. In the end what’s so beautiful about Russell’s is that it achieved what it set out to do, and at a price that any man can afford. At its low price point Russell’s Reserve is a 10 year bourbon anybody can treat as a special delight, their reserve whiskey or, for someone with a bigger bourbon budget, this could be a lovely daily drinker. Either way you won’t be disappointing anyone you choose to share a quaff with.