Chapter 8, Part 1:
For the second consecutive year, over the month of November, Flight Club will be bringing you “30 Turkeys in 30 days.” Each day, we will post a review of a different Wild Turkey product. Throughout that journey, we will provide you with background information on the company, the products, and the people behind the products, all of which we hope create a better understanding of what Wild Turkey brings to the world of bourbon and rye whiskey. A table of contents for each of these posts can be found here.
In this Chapter 8, we continue our look at Wild Turkey Rye, this time with those released under the Russell’s Reserve line. Last year, we brought you the history of Russell’s Reserve Bourbon. Later this month in Chapter 10, we will bring you some additional review of the bourbon, which have become some of our favorites.
But in 2007, Wild Turkey “Russelled” its ryes, introducing the Russell’s Reserve Rye 6 Year . Like the Russell’s Reserve bourbon before it, Eddie is said to be responsible for the creation of Russell’s Reserve Rye. This should come as no surprise, as Eddie is believed to know and appreciate the mixology side of whiskey much more than Jimmy – and therefore, the rye became a bit more dear to his heart.
Recall that the Russell’s line was originally intended to be a more contemporary product, with a lower proof and milder flavor. Although this 6 year fit that bill, the Russell’s line would later be extended to the Russell’s Reserve Singe Barrel Bourbon at 110 proof, and in 2015, Wild Turkey extended the Russell’s Reserve Rye line to include a Single Barrel version.
Nose: Old dry oak; butterfingers with sweet chocolate and toffee; baking spice with rye spice; mint; grass; ginger; orange. Definitely some old classic Turkey here. A solid 4/5 and maybe more. (4/5)
Palate: Classic Turkey, with sweetness up front that drys out at the back end; baking spice and rye spice; a bit bitter at tail end in a old dry wood kind of way; a bit thin that doesn’t compliment the wood very well. At a higher proof that would score higher, presumably as the mouthfeel would be improved. (3.5/5)
Finish: This finish starts with dry oak with maybe with a little cocoa; then transitions to sweet herbal (mint floral fennel pepper); the palate spice comes back at the tail end of the finish. (3.5/5)
Overall: This is very pleasing and much better than we expected. It is an easy drinker with decent complexity, but it is not for the drinker who demands pure sweetness from a barely legal rye. (3.5/5)
Value: We paid around $100 for a first year release of Russell’s Reserve Rye, although it retailed a decade ago for probably $25. If you find it near retail on the shelf then grab it. But at $100 it’s just “worth a try for the experience.” (2.5/5)
“It is an easy drinker with decent complexity, but it is not for the drinker who demands pure sweetness from a barely legal rye.”
Scott is a co-founder of Flight Club and a frequent writer and reviewer on the Club’s blog.