Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Russell's Reserve Warehouse Liquors Private Barrel Selection Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon - No. 20-0007

- $68
- 110 Proof
- 8 yrs., 8 mos.
- Barrel No. 20-0007
- Kentucky

Gene over at Warehouse Liquors in Chicago has a great palate. At least, for the most part, he has tastes and preferences that seem to closely align with mine (which is what makes his palate great, of course!).  While there have been private picks here and there that weren't necessarily my favorite, for the most part I have come to trust his picks knowing that I'm getting something pretty damn good.

And such was the case when I decided to grab this bottle. The price was a little steeper than I'm used to for Russell's Reserve picks. However, it had been a while since Warehouse last got a Russell's pick in. And the past picks that Gene has done have been amazing, so I still didn't hesitate to grab it off the shelf. Quite frankly, I'm so glad I did.

The nose has the hallmarks of what I love in a bourbon, with cinnamon and vanilla dominating. There was a bit of a graham crackery note as well as a cherry pie filling note to it as well to round out that cherry pie note. At times that graham cracker note came across a bit more bready or yeasty, but it didn't really detract from the nose. It just made it smell a bit more like a bakery.

The first thing I noticed when I tasted it was the long, drawn out cinnamon flavor. It seemed to be layered on top of a light anise note. I also got some darker fruit flavors, like raising and fig. It came across immediately as rich and full of flavor, with a lot of complexity.

From the first pour, this bottle seemed to only get better with each sip. That bready yeast note from the nose came through, rounding out that baked goods type flavor. It even had some light oak notes, just enough to counter some of the sweetness and add a bit more complexity and character to the flavor. 

The vanilla from the nose was there, but it wasn't a sweet vanilla. It was more like straight vanilla extract. While the sweetness didn't come from the vanilla, it worked because it found its way in other ways. It had a honey and graham cracker note that provided all the light sweetness the whiskey needed without letting it come across as a categorically "sweet" bourbon. In fact, it had kind of a butter cookie flavor to it on the last few pours that I absolutely loved.

The finish kept that honey and graham cracker note, but it was followed very quickly by a nice black pepper spice that didn't seem to show up until after I finished each sip. This was almost perfect, because it had me immediately diving back into my glass for that next sip.  

Again, while the price was a little steep, this was still worth every penny. Great flavor, great complexity and overall just a great bourbon.  I honestly wish I had another.

Grade: A


  1. It's not just that Gene's prices are very high, but you get hit hard with Chicago's taxes! This bottle costs over $80 after taxes!!

  2. You're not wrong. As a suburbanite, I still get sticker shock every time I get hit with those taxes.