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Wild Turkey is distilled and bottled by Austin Nichols & Co., a division of the Campari Group. Russell's Reserve was first released in 2001 as a Wild Turkey line extension, named in honor of veteran Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell. This is the original expression, 10 years old and bottled at 101° proof (50.5% ABV), and not to be confused with the currently available version that is bottled at 90° proof (45% ABV).
The nose is rich and fruity. Vanilla and honey are the dominant flavours, followed by peach and syrup. A whiff of smoke rounds this off, together with some tobacco.
The palate is full-bodied, spicy and chewy. Vanilla is back again, together with fudge and raisins.
The finish is of medium length and warming. Towards the end it gets rather dry and woody.
Less bold and assertive than the other expressions of the Wild Turkey line-up, this is a bourbon that I greatly enjoyed. Both nose and palate are very well balanced, and I particularly enjoyed the mix of fruity elements such as vanilla/peach with the more austere flavours of smoke/tobacco. Well done – a true gentleman!