Russell’s Reserve 10 Year

This is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon distilled by Wild Turkey Distilling Co, a division of Campari Group. They produce several different bourbons (see here for details.)

This bourbon is named for Jimmy Russell, Wild Turkey’s master distiller. Wild Turkey notes about Jimmy “60 Year Whiskey veteran, longest-tenured, active Master Distiller in the global spirits industry.”

The following two reviews are from tastings in 2017 and 2018.


Aged 10 years in virgin American oak casks , #4 char.

Mash bill: Uncertain, but I’ve read 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barley.

Visited the Cheesecake Factory, and perused their whiskey list. Found Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Bourbon, which I’ve heard a lot of talk about over the past couple of months, so I thought that I’d give it a try. This is supposed to be a big step up from their baseline, “bottom shelf” Wild Turkey 81 Proof. That Wild Turkey was a favorite of Hunter S. Thompson, famed gonzo journalist.  So, how is the 10 year old?

2017 Review

Color: Deep caramel

Nose: A delicious experience, some vanilla, butterscotch, and pepper.

Palate: Rich mouthfeel. Delicious and warm on the front palate: molasses, oak, and then a bit of crisp green apple! But an astringent taste going back that almost overwhelmed the initial sensation. I drank this slowly, over a half hour , and the rough landing past the back palate was consistent: alcohol, pepper, something oddly organic. Definitely going to try this again sometime, but based on this first experience I’m not planning on a buying a bottle at this time.

2018 Review

Nose: Much less deep than I recall, and also less deep to the other bourbons I sampled on the same day. Just not much there.

Palate. Thin, oily, lots of rye spice. Only a hint of the molasses and green apple that I enjoyed in last year’s offering. The consistent part was the experience on the back palate: alcohol, pepper, something oddly organic. Overall, this was disappointing.

pointing finger

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One comment

  1. […] Some people have been skeptical of Wild Turkey doing this. After all, we’ve all see companies use minor changes or labels as marketing tricks. But what I am concerned with is the final product. Does this create something new and worthwhile? In this humble reviewer’s opinion, yes. I quite enjoyed it, and sure did taste the mesquite influence. I like it better than Wild Turkey 86 or 101, and even more than the 10-year Russell’s Reserve.  […]


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