Review #900 – Russell’s Reserve 2002

Review #900 | Bourbon Review #471 – Russell’s Reserve 2002

The Schtick: This is a limited edition release from Wild Turkey that is focusing on trying to create a blend of barrels that could top Russell’s Reserve 1998.

From Wild Turkey: “As Bourbon collectors continue their quest for those hard-to-find whiskey “unicorns,” Russell’s Reserve® unveils a real Kentucky gem with the release of Russell’s Reserve 2002 – a beautiful vintage hand-selected by Master Distiller Eddie Russell. This marks the first non-chill filtered, barrel proof bourbon from the venerable brand.

To find the liquid for the release, this Bourbon Hall of Famer spent years searching through more than half a million barrels for the perfect sequel to the covete dRussell’s Reserve 1998, which received a 94 rating from esteemed publication Whiskey Advocate. A mere 25 barrels were chosen for this endeavor to create a truly sought-after spirit that will be a welcome addition for passionate connoisseurs.”

Half million barrels? …..If you say so. 

Distiller: Wild Turkey

Bottler: Wild Turkey

ABV: 57.3% ABV

Age: 15 Years

Nose: Oak, pepper, honey, lemon, orange peel, toffee. Faint musty tobacco. Faint clove. Very fruit forward, sweetness and oak are on the back burner.

Taste: Medium mouth feel, a bit more heat than I’d like. Oak, pepper, clove. Some sweetness. Orange peel, faint caramel. Mild cocoa. None of those older, rich delectable musty tobacco notes I get in thinks like Pewter, Split Label and those old decanters.

Finish: Short to medium in length. Surprising amount of heat. Oak, pepper, clove, musty tobacco. Not a lot of sweetness here, doesn’t stick around for a long time. Dry, bittering oak.

Overall: I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed in this. It’s oaky, dry, a bit thinner on the palate than I’d like and also a bit hotter than I think it should be. The citrus peel is there, that musty Turkey tobacco is super faint and found in the finish only, but honestly, I’d take the vast majority of Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel bourbon and rye selections I’ve had over this, and if I had to choose, I’d put this on par with WT101.

I had hopes, but I don’t think this release was chosen with Turkey fans in mind. Unless you’re looking at it only, in which case, it will do just fine. It’s oak dominated, and not in a good way. I think that choosing a good Russell’s Single Barrel and sacrificing 2.3% ABV along with some age is worth it to gain a bottle of something significantly tastier.

Thanks for reading!

Rank: 5

Other Wild Turkey Expressions I Have Reviewed:



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