Some weeks back I purchased a bottle of Wild Turkey 101 Rye. I honestly wasn’t expecting much prior to tasting but ended up quite surprised by the profile and continue enjoying an occasional pour to this day. When I heard that a single-barrel rye was being released under the Russell’s Reserve brand, I was anxious to try it. After all, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon is arguably the best Wild Turkey product on retail shelves today. Surely the rye would follow suit, right?

The problem is Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye, while not classified as a “limited edition,” is in fact limited in distribution and not so easy to find. Sure, I had missed opportunities to purchase from online retailers, but with shipping costs and the mere inconvenience of interstate commerce, I felt patience was prudent. Thankfully, the time has come.

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye – 104-proof, non-chill filtered Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey – no age stated – 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, sweet baking spice

Overall: This, folks, is a delicious pour. Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye has some of the best elements of both Kentucky “barely legal rye” and Indiana “high rye” whiskeys. The core vanilla/bakery notes, while light in texture and weight, are reminiscent of Wild Turkey 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.

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye artfully balances sweet and spicy, is notably easy and enjoyable to sip, and is surprisingly developed 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 🦃