To pick our first private barrel of bourbon, we chose a legend for a little help. Jimmy Russell is the Master Distiller at Wild Turkey, and for over 60 years, he's been making whiskey at the Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, distillery. A member of the Bourbon Hall of Fame and the longest-tenured active Master Distiller in the global spirits industry, he's the living embodiment of both bourbon's past and present.
On a crisp fall afternoon last year, Jimmy and the Uncrate team sampled several barrels of Russell's Reserve — barrels that have already been pulled aside for their superior quality — inside Wild Turkey's historic Warehouse A, built in 1890 overlooking the Kentucky River. We finally chose a barrel that matured for nine years on the fifth floor of Rickhouse K, and we can't wait to share it.
Jimmy insists that the deepest charred American oak barrels, known as the "alligator" char, are used for Russell's Reserve to bring out the richest flavors and color. That heavy char influences this selection, adding notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak that finishes easy despite its 110 proof strength.
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