I’ll make no apologies. I love reviewing Lincoln Road Package Store private barrel selections. Yes, I’ve had this conversation before, but it bears repeating. Jamie Farris is as genuine as a bourbon fan gets – far removed from label hype and sticker games. There’s no crazy sales pitch, no ridiculous premiums, no gimmicks whatsoever. Without fanfare or social media hoopla, Jamie heads to Wild Turkey, meets up with Eddie Russell, and they taste top-quality barrels. His selections are later bottled, tagged, priced, and stocked. It’s that simple.

I feel slightly guilty, as I’ve been holding out on you all. It wasn’t intentional. I’d considered writing a review of this particular Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel many times before, but things come up. But here’s the reason for my guilt (spoiler alert) … of all the Lincoln Road Wild Turkey private barrels I’ve tasted to date, this is hands-down my favorite.

I have a lot more to say about this bourbon, but I’ll reserve my thoughts for after the tasting. So with that, let’s pour!

Lincoln Road Russell's Reserve 16-027

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon, Lincoln Road Package Store 15th Anniversary (barrel #16-027, rickhouse G, floor 4) – selected by Lincoln Road Package Store, Hattiesburg, MS – 110-proof, non-chill filtered KSBW – 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:  deep copper

Nose:  (complex w/ hints of classic WT) brown sugar, toasted vanilla, caramel, nutmeg, charred oak, cinnamon, gingerbread, orange peel, honey-maple, sweet herbs, clove, cake frosting

Taste:  (notably creamy) chewy caramel, brown sugar, rich vanilla, sweet musty oak, nutmeg, cinnamon, English toffee, hints of orange peel & tobacco

Finish:  medium-long, warm & flavorful – vanilla, caramel, oak char, nutmeg, brown sugar, molasses, dark chocolate, leather, faint citrus & herbal spice

Overall:  Balance.  There’s so much going on here – beautifully complex with a nice throwback classic Wild Turkey undercurrent – but its balance is what really shines. I’m just as impressed tonight as I recall the first time I tried this pour months ago. Intense bakery notes, a thick & creamy mouthfeel, and just enough oak, chocolate, and herbal spice to round off what I feel is a near-perfect single barrel whiskey. I can only imagine what this bourbon was like at full barrel strength – probably nothing short of amazing.

Here’s the thing. I’m aware that this private selection is no longer available (it was released some time ago), but like so many other Lincoln Road Package Store picks, it actually spent time on a retail shelf. It has no flashy sticker. It carries no creative nickname. Just a standard Russell’s Reserve neck tag like so many others found in retail stores around the U.S. Not that stickers or catchy names are necessarily a bad thing. Hell, I’ve done one myself. I’m just saying that some of the best barrel picks out there are hiding in plain site.

So how do you know when a private barrel is worthy of a purchase when you find one? Well, until you try for yourself there’s never a guarantee. And let’s be frank, how many “bad” Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbons have you experienced? Regardless, here’s one piece of wisdom that many veteran whiskey enthusiasts have offered for years now … know who you’re buying from.

I think this particular selection is a damn-fine example of that mantra. It’s even more fitting that this remarkable selection was released in celebration of Lincoln Road Package Store’s 15-year anniversary.

15 years of hard work and risk. For small business owners like Jamie, private selections don’t pay the bills. Local stores need your loyal patronage. They depend on you visiting for your everyday needs – not just folks dropping in for allocated expressions or limited releases.

So the next time you’re in the Hattiesburg area, stop by, say hello to Jamie, and stock up on some daily sippers. And if you’re far from Mississippi, stop by any mom & pop store that you often pass on your way to the “big box” retailer. Grab a handle of Wild Turkey 101 and maybe a Russell’s Reserve or Kentucky Spirit private selection, should they have one. You never know what you’ll get, but my guess (from experience) is that you’ll more than likely be happy.

As for this Lincoln Road 15th Anniversary Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel … well done, Jamie.

Rating: 4.5/5 🦃