This week, I’m heading out to Kentucky. With private selections at both Wild Turkey and Wilderness Trail Distillery, I have a great deal to look forward to. And Thursday’s visit to Tyrone is sure to be special, as I’m tasting new barrels for Pride of Anderson County (on Eddie Russell’s birthday, no less). Pretty damn cool. If you’d told me something like this would happen back when I started this blog in 2016, I would’ve laughed. It’s been an incredible six (almost seven) years, and I couldn’t have done it without the support of readers like you. Thank you.
Speaking of 2016, I recently acquired a 2022 Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel selection that, in some ways, reminds me of certain Russell’s releases from 2016-2018. It’s a Camp Nelson B barrel selected by Wine.com and I couldn’t be more thrilled with its flavor profile. I may have some packing for my travels to tackle, but before I do I figured I’d share my thoughts on this noteworthy bourbon. And thank you, Ethan, for making this review possible.
Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: 9 years, 5 months
Misc.: barrel #22-0867, Camp Nelson B, 5th floor; selected by Wine.com; non-chill filtered; distilled & bottled by the Wild Turkey Distilling Co., Lawrenceburg, KY
Tasted neat in a Glencairn after a few minutes rest …
Nose: salted caramel, baked apple pie, charred oak, orange creme, hints of chocolate-covered raisins & sweet black tea
Taste: vanilla bean, root beer float, brown sugar, toffee, honey-roasted nuts, singed orange peel, cherry pie filling
Finish: medium-long w/ light molasses, fizzy cola, oak char, savory citrus, apple-cinnamon, faint nutmeg & clove
Impression: While very much a modern Turkey profile, it’s an impressive variation considering the past three years’ offerings. Not that 2020-2022 Russell’s Reserve selections haven’t warranted praise, but admittedly, very few stand toe to toe with 2016 G, 2017 B, and 2018 D barrels (among other notable selections from rickhouses at that time, like H, K, and M). Nevertheless, this Camp Nelson B selection soars high enough to grab this bird’s attention.
From old-fashioned candy to sweet and savory orchard fruit, not to mention rich “core Turkey” notes like caramel and toffee, this Wine.com Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel offers a rewarding tasting experience. And if you’re a fan of Camp Nelson’s signature fizzy/prickly vibe, you’ll get that as well. Hell, just about everything one could wish for in a Russell’s pick is here. It’s not the best barrel I’ve tasted, but it damn sure isn’t run-of-the-mill (and we’re talking about a very high floor to begin with).
If you’re out and about and see a Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel labeled CNB (or just B with a 22-08XX barrel number), don’t hesitate; give it a try. Perhaps I’m biased being a die-hard Turkey fan, but I’m confident you’ll be pleased with your investment. To date, I’ve tried at least five 2022 Camp Nelson B Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel selections (a mix of 5th and 6th floors) and each one has proven itself a tasty pour. Some, like this Wine.com selection, are more remarkable than others, but none have let me down to the point of deterring me from future purchases. Long story short, CNB is firmly on my radar in 2023 and should be for you as well.
As I prepare for my flight to Louisville, I can’t help but daydream about what lies ahead. Might barrels from Camp Nelson B await at Wild Turkey? I’ll soon find out. But despite what’s available – regardless of the aging campus, rickhouse, age, and proof – I’m elated by the fact I’ll be tasting Jimmy and Eddie’s handiwork straight from the barrel in Tyrone’s rickhouse A. There’s nothing like it on the planet – an experience unmatched.
I sincerely hope that each and every individual reading this post has the opportunity to attend an on-site barrel pick at Wild Turkey one day. But if that opportunity never arrives or you simply can’t make it out to the distillery, seek out harder-to-find barrel-proof bottlings like Single Cask Nation, Russell’s Reserve Single Rickhouse, and the travel-retail NCF Rare Breed. Granted, none will hit quite the same as Eddie or Bruce Russell filling your glass from a copper thief, but they’ll likely impart just as wide of a grin.
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