Russell’s Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye - Single Barrel



Nose: Well, even if I had not seen the label, I think I would have figured out this was a rye or at least a high rye bourbon. Its nose has rye spiciness but it also has a nice honey-based sweetness too. Overall, though, the scent is pretty light. It is nice but doesn’t forecast the taste that is coming. It is very sneaky that way….. I like a good smell, but to me the taste is what counts, so if the nose doesn’t anticipate the palate, I’m not that upset. Palate: You definitely get the rye spice on the first sip, but it isn’t overly rye spicy. Or, perhaps it just seems that way because the sweetness on the nose also comes through on the palate. This has a great balance between the two. So much so, that I think if I had tasted this blind, I would have put it as a rye heavy bourbon. So….if you like a good deal of rye in your bourbon, you’ll probably like this rye. The mouthfeel is right on the border between medium and thick. It doesn’t pack a lot of heat, but has a very pleasant warming in the finish. The warmth doesn’t last that long and the finish doesn’t either. Once the warmth is gone, you notice a really pleasant (“I want another sip”) after taste that is spicy but it also has a very slight molasses sweetness. Comments: Luckily, it doesn’t happen often, but I think we all have a bottle that has only a little bit left in it that we know we can never replace. So….when it is gone, it is gone. This is especially true with single barrel selections, and this one definitely falls into this category. I really enjoyed this glass and am very sad because there is about one glass left in the bottle. Which means…..it will probably sit there for a long time. It is testament to Eddie and Jimmy Russell’s great ability to cherry-pick the good great barrels in the rickhouse to make their single barrel selections. Now, I have to admit that I’ve had this bottle for some time. Can you still get a great single barrel like this today? I really, really hope so. I have no idea what I paid for this. The going price seems to be in the $60 or 70 range, which is a bit pricey, especially for a rye. Not a good price point for a daily drinker, but I’d say worth a very once in a while splurge for something really nice. A good lesson from this one might be….if you buy a Single Barrel bottle of something and really like it, if you are of the mind to have a back-up, you should go back and buy another bottle from the same barrel. This clocks in at a very respectable 104 proof, but you really wouldn’t guess that if tasting blind. The mashbill is 51% rye, 37% corn and 12% malted barley. It is reportedly aged 6 years.