November’s Whiskey of the Month hails from the environs of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky and the legendary Wild Turkey Distillery. The legendary distillery has operated since right after the Civil War, when it opened as the Ripy Bros. Distillery, and was one of the unlucky ones unable to operate during prohibition. Immediately following the repeal of the 18th Amendment, the distillery got back to work and was soon renamed Wild Turkey Distillery, which has been under the watchful eye of Jim Russell since 1954.
Russell’s Reserve Rye is a project of Jimmy Russell and his son Eddie, who together have some 90 years experience making whiskey. The mash bill is the same as for Wild Turkey Rye, an 81-proof gem, however the distillation method leaves more water from the original mash in the white dog, meaning less fresh water is needed to cut it to the specified 90 proof when it is bottled. True to form of the elite whiskeys that have emerged over the last generation in Kentucky, Russell’s Reserve Rye is aged in the center of the center floors of the best rickhouse.
Russell’s Reserve Rye sports rich aromas of sweet almonds, English toffee, and classic herbaceous rye spice, giving way to a palate which still shows a hefty rye flavor, along with Chinese fivespice, caramel, and black tea. The long finish is refined and toasty, reminiscent of a bread bakery late in morning.