John Hansell mentioned this in passing on his blog, and I recall seeing a COLA for this product a while back, too.
I'm very curious as to what their thinking is with this product. Obviously I'm excited that there is another high proofer in the WT stable, but it's sad to see yet another age statement go away. An increase by 20 degrees of proof will probably make this a better pour that the current age stated 90 proof RR-- think for sake of comparison, of Basil Hayden vs. OGD 114. But I'm still worried for the long term. Wild Turkey has not done very well with the quality of their NAS products over time: look at the arc of Rare Breed and Kentucky Spirit over the several years. My advice is that if this new Russel's Reserve is any good, we should bunker the hell out of it, because five years from now we'll be desperately looking for more of the initial release.
And while I'm a big fan of bourbons in the 107 proof and above range, no one was clamoring for the RR to be raised to 110. 101, yes, and ten years old, yes....
Speaking of Rare Breed, I'm curious as to how the new RR will relate to RB. We know that RB is supposedly a mingling of 6, 8, and 12 year old bourbon, and while lately it seems a little heavier on the 6 and 8 year old, it's still a nice profile and well balanced due to the age ranges involved. What is the aim with the new RR, I wonder: a generally older tasting profile?
Also speaking of Rare Breed, a trip over to the TTB online turned up this little nugget: a new Rare Breed label. No more batch numbers, it appears (which I think we all agree were meaningless once the WT-03Bs hit), but also higher proof at 111.1. I wonder if the higher proof is due to the inclusion of more older whiskey (yeah, right) or higher distillation proof or barrel entry proof (much more likely, I think). I wonder if and when this one will actually hit the market.