Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

At the end of the American Civil War, the Ripy Brothers returned to their native state of Kentucky and opened a distillery on the slopes of Wild Turkey Hill in Lawrenceburg. Although the distillery was forced to close its doors during Prohibition, it reopened shortly thereafter and since 1954, has operated under the tutelage of Master Distiller Jimmy Russell.

One of the perks that comes with his six decades of service to the same distillery is the freedom to create a product that perfectly captures Russell's vision of what bourbon should be: Russell's Reserve Small Batch Single Barrel Bourbon is the remarkable result of that vision.

Russell's Reserve Small Batch Single Barrel Bourbon is made in Kentucky using a generations-old mash recipe. After the grains are harvested, they are mashed and fermented before being distilled to a lower proof than at other distilleries in Kentucky (meaning that less water is used in diluting the bourbon after it is matured).

Following distillation, Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon is aged in American oak casks that have been charred with a #4 char. Typically, the degree of charring within a cask is measured on a scale of one to four, with a #1 char referring to casks that have been slightly toasted, and a #4 char referring to casks that have been charred so heavily that the interior resembles an alligator hide (the latter are nicknamed alligator-charred casks). The heavy char contributes notes of vanilla and crème brûlée to Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon, and compliments its notes of oak and baking spices.

Following maturation, Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, along with his son Eddie Russell, hand-select the best barrels for bottling. As a result of being the product of a single cask, rather than a blend of casks, each bottle of Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon has its own unique characteristics, while still maintaining the rich and creamy style that is endowed by years of maturation in the Kentucky heat.

Once the casks have been hand-selected, the bourbon is non-chill filtered, which preserves the fatty acids and esters in the bourbon while removing any remaining sediment (while the fatty acids and esters may cause a slight cloudiness in the bourbon, they contribute to its overall natural taste and provide for additional complexity). Each bottle is then filled from a single cask before being labeled by hand.

Bottled at 110 proof, Russell's Reserve Small Batch Single Barrel Bourbon has a surprisingly subtle aroma. Notes of cinnamon, oak and spicy wood are nicely balanced with undertones of vanilla, crème brûlée and honey, and ultimately lead to a deep and rich finish.

"People tell me, " I hate to get up and go to work,'" says Russell. "I go seven days a week. You know, on Saturdays and Sundays I may go out there and sit around for an hour or so."

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