Sometime back I purchased a bottle of Wild Turkey 101 Rye. I honestly wasn’t expecting much prior to tasting, but ended up being very surprised by the profile and continue to enjoy a pour on occasion to this day. So when I heard that a single barrel rye was being released under the Russell’s Reserve name, I was anxious to try it. After all, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon is arguably the best Wild Turkey product on the shelves today. Surely the rye would follow suit – right? The problem is, this particular release, while not classified as a “limited edition,” is quite limited in distribution and not so easy to find. Sure, there were past opportunities to purchase from online retailers, but with shipping costs and the mere inconvenience of inter-state commerce, I felt patience was prudent. And now the time has come.


Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye – 104 proof, non-chill filtered Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey (NAS) – reported mash bill of 37% corn, 51% rye, 12% barley – distilled and bottled by the Wild Turkey Distilling Co., Lawrenceburg, KY

Tasted neat in a Glencairn after a few minutes rest …

Color: Citrine

Nose: light vanilla, sourdough bread, lemon peel, sweet floral notes, ginger, faint musty oak, a pinch of dill

Taste: (sweet & “tingly”) crisp vanilla, zesty citrus, honey-lemon herbal tea, white cake frosting, hints of dill spice, light funky oak

Finish: medium in length, “crisp” satisfying warmth, vanilla candy, baking spice

Overall: This folks, is a delicious pour. At least to me, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye has some of the best elements of both Kentucky “barely legal rye” and Indiana “high rye” whiskeys. The vanilla/bakery notes, while light in texture and weight, are more reminiscent of a bourbon. The spice notes however, are full-on rye in nature. And for the first time in recent memory (or maybe ever), I’m detecting a faint dill note in a Wild Turkey whiskey. This single barrel straight rye artfully balances sweet and spicy, is very easy and enjoyable to sip, and is surprisingly complex for its lack of an age statement. I’m looking forward to trying more of these, particularly some of the more uncommon private selections (which I’ve heard are often more mature and complex in nature).

Rating:  4/5 🦃