The new Russell's Reserve is 90 proof (not 80) let's not give them any ideas. I'm honestly not so sure it's the same as the 101 + water. It has a very tastey but different profile (to me). I like the 101 better. It has a heavier, fuller taste with more wood than the 90. The 90 is fruitier and maybe some berry flavor in there. Maybe this is all effect of the dilution, I have no idea. It really confused my local store until I explained what Wild Turkey had done (the whole same UPC code thing is just WRONG!). Their computer system is UPC based and it wouldn't let them enter the "new" product. Anyway, I'm buying all the 101 I can find in the mean time.I just had my first taste of RR 101 this weekend. WOW. i was impressed. Really reminded me of Spring 05 Stagg in a lot of ways.
Now I have to go out and find all the 101 before the 80 proof hits the shelf. I was at my local liquor store and the owner showed me a "new" bourbon he just got in.....Russell Reserve 80 proof. I said "hmmmm yeah....see these other bottles you have here?, it's the same product but less proof." He was kinda bummed. I think the distributor pushed it as a "new" product.
. Let me know when RR 101 comes back on the market and I may retract............don't hold your breath now, you might turn blue!