30 Days of Wild Turkey: Day 49 (Russell’s Reserve 2002)

Wild Turkey

Chapter 10, Part 6:

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.

Today we review the most anticipated release from Wild Turkey in 2018 – the Russell’s Reserve 2002.  Russell’s Reserve 2002 is rightly anticipated because it marks something unusual for Wild Turkey and the Russell’s Reserve line.  It is a non-chill filtered, barrel proof Wild Turkey.  Save Rare Breed, which is much younger, Wild Turkey doesn’t typically release barrel proof whiskeys.  Russell’s often comes close with the 110 proof Russell’s Reserve Singe Barrels, but high end barrel proofs are generally a thing of the past.

The 2002 is the follow up to the highly acclaimed Russell’s Reserve 1998 released a few years ago, which we have yet to get our hands on.  

This release was aged at the Camp Nelson site, like some of the Single Barrels we tasted earlier this week.  Only 25 barrels were included in the release.

Russell's Reserve 2002

Russell’s Reserve 2002 (114.6 Proof) (15 Year) (Sampled by Scott Hill, Jamie Baalmann, Stephen Benson and Eric Schoeder)

Nose: Fudge; golden raisins; bing cherry; dried fig; dried oak; dank oak; tobacco;  plum; dried apricot; red apple skin; chex mix/pretzel/salted peanut/candy shell; newly finished furniture. (4/5)

Palate: Creamy/oily mouth coating all the way through; dried leaves; light chocolate and some peanut M&M’s; chocolate covered almonds; chex mix; raisin; apricot; plum; red apple; red-hot cinnamon; tea; a very light pineapple (4/5)

Finish: Oily.  Old leather; hint of cinnamon; baking spice; apple skin; rye spice; allspice; a balance between milk chocolate and baking chocolate; a light smoke; a light red wine flavor and drying tannin; plum, apricot; cherry; salt. (4/5)

Overall: Earthy, chocolaty and well married. As simple as that – although this is not simple at all.  (4/5)

Value:  If you could find it, this bottle came in around $250 MSRP.  On one hand, I argue that this is a modern era Turkey, with none of that valued old funk. On the other hand, I argue that this is well-aged, and it’s really good. In the end, this is a prestigious price range. Compare this to modern competitors, it is satisfactory.  Compare to what $300 can buy you in terms of old Wild Turkey, we are a bit underwhelmed.   It’s for sure collectible, as it is one of only 3,640.  The true value is locked in to that fact.  (2.5/5)

“Earthy, chocolaty and well married.”

Russell's Reserve 2002

Scott Hill

Scott is a co-founder of Flight Club and a frequent writer and reviewer on the Club’s blog.

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