Thursday, April 19, 2012
Dusty Thursday: Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve 10/101 - What is a Dusty?
I talk about dusties every Thursday but I don't think I've really spent any time defining what a dusty is. If you ask most people, they would say it's a hard to find or out of production bottle of whiskey. But if you really talk to people about dusties, many would say that what they are looking for are bottles that were out of production before they started drinking (or seriously drinking) whiskey.
Enter Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve 101. Unlike many of the dusties I've covered here, this bourbon was available when I started becoming a whiskey fan. In fact, it was the first bottle of bourbon I ever purchased. Around 8 or 9 years ago, I had been drinking Scotch for a few years and was trying to learn about bourbon; a friend recommended this ten year old version of Wild Turkey 101; I think I picked it up for around $35. Needless to say, I loved it and I was on my way to bourbonland. A few years later, they repackaged Russell's Reserve at a lower proof (45% abv). Since then, the 101 proof version has become a dusty treasure, but it's hard for me to think of it as a dusty, since I remember seeing it on the shelves.
I haven't had a sip of the Russell's Reserve 101 since that first bottle, so I was excited to get some and see how it compared to my memory.
Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve 101, 10 years old, 50.5% abv.
The nose is candy sweet with a good measure of wood. The palate is rich and woody with some rye notes. There is a lot of age on this for ten years. Tasting blind I would likely guess it was older. I'm getting sentimental now, this really reminds me of why I started drinking bourbon. It revealed what bourbon could be and shaped many of my early opinions. I'm lucky I started with this. If I'd picked up something else, I might never have bothered to buy a second bottle (then again, maybe that would have been a good thing - at least I'd have more available closet space).
This really is a great bourbon and it saddens me that it's no longer around, but Dusty Thursdays can be bittersweet, especially when the whiskey comes with memories.