Monday, April 15, 2013

Capitol Bourbon Committee Blind Tasting Bourbon #1: Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve Small Batch Single Barrel Bourbon

The Capitol Bourbon Committee recently began its first blind tasting.  I purchased eight different American whiskies, divided them up, had my wife label them, and then distributed them to the group.  All any of us knew about them is that they are American whiskey.  The Committee then provided tasting notes. We think this will be a lot of fun.

The blind samples ready for distribution.
Our first selection was the latest release of Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve. Recently, WTRR went from a 10 year old, 90 proof to a no age statement barrel proof bourbon. In this case, the bourbon is 110 proof, which seems about right given that Wild Turkey allegedly has some of the lowest barrel entry proofs in the business. It has been a popular release among bourbon enthusiasts, as we generally like barrel proof offerings (we hate paying for water) and the price is pretty fair--I picked this bottle up for about $46--for a barrel proof bottle. On to the notes.

Average Score: 81.8

Nose is slightly astringent. (Literally: hint of cleaning solution, maybe some spearmint.) Mouthfeel somewhat thin, nice heat despite not being very high proof (I'd guess). Taste is a little ordinary, though that nice heat is noticeable in the finish. Underwhelmed. 75/100.

Very smokey almost "scotch-ish".  Nice initial pepper taste with a fairly smooth lingering finish.  I really like the flavor and would score this 75/100.

nose: leathery with a slightly pungent alcohol burn; behind that it's sweeter with hints of vanilla and an almost floral quality

taste: peppery and spicy on the tongue with a little bit of citrus zest

finish: spice quickly gives way to a warm, big sweetness and a little bit of fig; with a little bit of water or ice the finish rounds out to a smooth butterscotch
overall score = 87
As an aside: I was a little put off by the strength of this at first, but as my palate adjusted I noticed more complexity and really enjoyed it in the end.

Nose: Alcohol, even after adding some water.
Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve

Taste: Hints of honey and vanilla.

Finish: Long, with the vanilla lingering.

Score: I think my score for this first one would only be an 85. Too much alcohol really obscures the other flavors for me, but the ones I got weren't all that interesting.

Missing in Action, probably due to a newborn baby.


Nose: Caramel, vanilla, barrel char, cinnamon and spice

Taste: Bubblegum, some plum I think, fairly hot (needs water), caramel and vanilla, with a full mouthfeel

Finish: Very sweet, hot, and medium length

Overall: 87. A nice whiskey, balanced with sweet and spicy notes. It is hot, so adding water is recommended.

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