Russell’s Reserve 10 is named after Wild Turkey’s Jimmy Russell. It was launched commemorating his 45th anniversary in 1999. It’s selected by Jimmy and his son Eddie who have nearly 90 combined years of experience. Jimmy protested releasing Russell’s Reserve 10 with his name. Jimmy was even tasting the barrels not knowing what it was for and eventually he was talked into it. Russell’s Reserve 10 is aged in heavy #4 char (AKA alligator) giving a more assertive barrel character. As with the rest of the Wild Turkey offerings, Russell’s Reserve 10 has a lower barrel entry proof, which brings out more flavors with less distilling.
Jimmy Russell began working at the distillery in 1954. Eddie’s first job at the distillery was mowing the grass around 1981. Jimmy Russell still holds the title as Master Distiller and Eddie Russell is Associate Distiller. They both joke about who will retire first.
Random trivia: Jimmy Russell likes his bourbon neat in the winter and in the freezer during the summer.
10 Year Age Statement. Bottled at 90-Proof. Wild Turkey mash bill 75 corn,13 rye, 12 barley. Paid $34 – Michigan State Minimum Price.
Sweet, Caramel. Vanilla. Light toffee. Some mint. Cinnamon. Oak and smoke. Whiff of sulfur.
Richness with caramel and toffee. Sweet with some alcohol flavors. Cinnamon and some good charred oak. Rye is in here with some mint and spice. A little nutty. Some burnt bitterness lingers.
Russell’s Reserve 10 is fairly rich and satisfying pour. Nice complexity with spices, rye character, and charred oak. Seems balanced towards the sweet, but the finish brings it back more towards the middle. Some alcohol warmth also in the finish to help things out.
The burnt char flavor from some extra time in those alligator barrels is a little distracting for me. It’s a nice glass and I’ve been enjoying it, but that’s keeping me from loving it. Either way, it’s still a nice Bourbon. I also think Russell’s Reserve 10 drinks above its price, which is another gold star. Personally Russell’s Reserve 10 seems to lack a little zip compared to Wild Turkey 101. Part of that might be the lower proof, but 101 is also just more lively at a younger age. Still, at this price it’s worth keeping around.
Russell’s Reserve 10 Recommendation
Buy a Bottle – 4.0/5.0 Rating
(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)
Buying Options and Further Research
Russell’s Reserve 10 is a standard rye, which actually seems to drink a little stronger than the recipe indicates. Price is right in there with a wide range of Bourbons in this class. If you can’t find this bottle or want to research some options, you’ll have a lot of bottles. Check out Elmer T Lee, Knob Creek, Woodford Reserve, Bowman Brothers, or Evan Williams Single Barrel.