Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Whiskey Wednesday: Born in the USA Part 5 - Russell's Reserve Rye

As I look back at my various rye whiskey reviews and tasting notes, I'm hard pressed to come up with a rye I didn't like. I love the spice and flair of rye. Rye is still a boutique spirit in the marketplace so those who make it are doing so with love and skill, which is what may account for the high quality of rye whiskey (or maybe I've just been lucky).

Wild Turkey has a long-standing, excellent rye whiskey in their Wild Turkey 101 Rye. It has a good rye punch, some nice, corn sweetness and it's one of the best ryes you can get for the price. Given my experience with 101, I jumped at the chance to get some of the distillery's new Russell's Reserve Rye.

Russell's Reserve is the moniker Wild Turkey gives to one of its premium Bourbons, named for WT's master distiller. Recently they added a rye whiskey to the Russell profile. In addition, they are now marketing both Russell's products simply as "Russell's Reserve" without any mention of Wild Turkey. This may be an attempt to cultivate a premium crowd which, doesn't consider Turkey a high end brand.


Russell's Reserve Rye, KY Straight Rye, 6 years old, 45% alcohol ($20).

Nose is light. Nice rye flavor, sweet with light spice. A nice sipping rye and a very good mixing rye (yes, I made some Sazeracs). I didn't taste them side by side, but I'm not sure I'd prefer this over the old-school Wild Turkey 101 rye, which is a great whiskey. Russell's is more subtle, but I like the punch of 101. Regardless, it's a very nice rye.

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