Introduction to Bourbon
In the world of spirits, bourbon enjoys a special status. It’s one of America’s native spirits and it’s deeply rooted in history. There are many regulations around what makes a bourbon a bourbon. It needs to be produced in the US, made from a grain mixture that’s at least 51% corn, aged in new charred oak barrels, distilled to no more than 160 U.S. proof and entered into the barrel for aging at no more than 125 proof. But amongst this sea of bourbon, a few stand out. One such example is the Russell’s Reserve 13 year old bourbon, particularly the batch 4 of 2023.
The Significance of Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Old Bourbon (Batch 4, 2023)
Before we jump into the review, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the significance of the Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Old Bourbon, especially its batch 4 from the year 2023. This bourbon has been produced by the Wild Turkey Distillery, which has Jimmy and Eddie Russell, two of the world’s most experienced bourbon distillers, at its helm. They account for an astonishing 107 combined years of whiskey distilling experience! Over the years, the father-son duo has been winning the hearts of whiskey lovers with their bold and rich bourbon that is packed with character.
The 13-year-old age statement is also significant because anything above the 10-year mark is considered well aged in bourbon terms. This is because bourbon’s maturation in new charred oak barrels can become overpowering if one lets it age for too long. This release is significant since it’s the first Russell’s Reserve product to carry an age statement above 10 years since the 2000s.
A Closer Look at Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Old Bourbon (Batch 4, 2023)
Appearance and Packaging
Looking at the bottle of the Russell’s Reserve 13 year old bourbon, it carries a standard Russell’s Reserve presentation. The only difference being the label on the neck, which says “13 Years Old.” The caramel-colored liquid inside shines through the clear glass, inviting the onlooker to taste the elixir nestled within.
The first whiff of this bourbon brings with it the distinct sweetness of caramel and vanilla, combined with hints of fresh oak, spices, and dried fruits. These complex aromas harmoniously dance together, indicating a well-balanced profile. The aging of 13 years seems to have done wonders on the nose, which, even at a robust 114.8 proof, doesn’t come across as overly alcoholic or pungent.
On the first sip, you are welcomed by a rush of sweet caramel and burnt sugar, followed by a wave of darker, richer flavors like dark chocolate, leather, and dark fruits. The high proof adds to the robustness of the bourbon, but it’s not overly hot or harsh. Instead, it provides a rich texture and a deep, engulfing taste experience. As the flavors unfold, the oak, spice, and earthiness that were initially detected on the nose also start appearing on the palate, adding a layer of complexity to the taste.
The finish of Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Old Bourbon is exceptionally long. The lingering taste of sweet caramel, oak, and hints of spice is accompanied by a warm, comforting heat. The taste memory of this bourbon is as long as the best-aged whiskeys you could ask for.
All in all, the Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Old Bourbon from the batch 4 released in 2023 is a celebratory product for the Wild Turkey Distillery. It’s a bourbon that puts on display the craftsmanship of the father-son duo, who have spent a lifetime perfecting the art of bourbon production. It’s complex yet balanced, strong but not harsh. Some might even declare it as one of the best bourbons they have ever tasted. But in the end, like everything else in life, that’s subjective. If you are a bourbon lover or a whiskey enthusiast, then this is a bottle worth getting your hands on.