Quick Review: Russels Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon – Ryan Engen Pick

On deck is a Ryan Engen Wine and Beyond store pick from quite a while back (I bought this in October of 2020, I believe). Wild Turkey Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon aged 10 years. It’s bottled at 55% ABV. So much to say about this one…

Nose: OK. Stick with me here. When we went back to my hometown of Boulder, Colorado in 1990 during one of my dad’s sabbatical leaves, my mom bought this cookbook called “The Mile High Cookbook”. It set baking times and temperatures to deal with the higher altitudes. There was a carrot cake recipe in there that my parents make to this day. THIS is that carrot cake in a glass, as I live and breathe. All the spices are in here. Cinnamon predominately, of course, also nutmeg and allspice. The nuttiness is definitely walnut to me. There’s also some toasted brown sugar and rich vanilla along with some golden raisins. Over time, a little bit of a cherry note develops as well as a little bit of orange zest. I don’t know about you, but I’m salivating.

Pallet: Those rich vanilla and toffee notes are all over the entry. The beginning of the development on the first sip is liquid carrot cake. Don’t know how else to describe it. Subsequent sips allow me to concentrate on the spices: cinnamon, earthy nutmeg and a touch of ginger. The spice wave slowly builds through the development and is not overpowering. This continually builds during the second half of the development and is mildly drying. As I hold this in my mouth I get some of those cherry and orange notes again. As I sip this over time, that raisin note on the nose shows itself mid-development. Incredible.

Finish: The baking spices linger along with toasted walnuts and dark sponge toffee. I love this evolution from a sweet entry to a slightly spicy development and mildly bitter finish. Several minutes later, I get that orange note again, making my mouth water for more.


I love the evolution through the whole experience. What’s important here, however, is not that there are completely new notes every step of the way. It’s more that almost all the notes I get on the nose present themselves later in the experience, but in subtlety different ways. Does that make sense?

Instagram: @paul.bovis

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