Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Russell's Reserve 13 Year Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon

- $75
- 114.8 Proof
- 13 Years
- Kentucky

What can I say about this release? When it was announced, I was very excited at the notion of one of my favorite distilleries putting out a limited release of one of my favorite brands aged for 13 years and bottled at cask strength!  What's not to love about that?  This was one of those few times where I got genuinely excited for a release and I certainly wanted to make sure to get my hands on a bottle.

And yet, I wasn't even aware that it had started hitting shelves in Illinois until my local store manager asked me if I wanted a bottle.  Seemed at the time to be a bit of a silly question, and I'm sure she knew the answer before I asked it. But, I was caught off guard, of course said yes, and excitedly brought the bottle home with me. Somehow, though, I managed enough restraint to not open it that night, but rather to wait a day until I could enjoy it with others.

When I took my first whiff of my glass, I knew I had something good here. I got a decent amount of oak, but certainly nothing overpowering. For me it was the right amount. Along with that I got sweeter notes of caramel and brown sugar, and it was very cookie-like. I also got a slight coffee note, and it came across almost like a mocha.

While the nose was very good, the flavor was even better.  I immediately noticed rich dark cherry notes that seemed to complement the oak that was certainly prevalent (but again, not overbearing by any stretch). I also got sweet vanilla and caramel notes that really worked well with the cherry and oak, and at times I got a burnt sugar note which added just a touch of smokiness to the mix.

On later pours I picked up some other notes, including orange peel, which gave it a bit of an Old Fashioned flavor. I also got notes of pie crust that really made the cherry notes come across as cherry pie filling. The wood notes I was getting earlier somehow seemed to temper what little bitterness they provided and even sweetened up a bit.

This had a great, long finish with a nice oily texture that coated the mouth in flavor for a long time. On the finish I got cherry cola, and later on it seemed more like a Dr. Pepper. There was a bit of black pepper spice, as well as a lingering anise note. 

I really loved everything about this bourbon. It hit on all cylinders for me, providing more wood influence, but only enough to be one of the notes in the mix, rather than the stand-out flavor. Every single flavor seemed to complement the others perfectly.  I really hope that Wild Turkey continues to put out these releases. I will grab any that I can get my hands on.

Grade: A

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