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Russell's Reserve Rye


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I just bought a bottle of this ($29.99 at Binny's) and am drinking it now. I like it a lot; clean, with spearmint and black pepper, and a surprisingly sweet cotton-candy finish.

But here's a curious thing. I've examined the bottle carefully, even the hang tag, and the name Wild Turkey appears nowhere. The official statement on the back label says Austin Nichols Distilling Company, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, USA.

There you go. Russell's Reserve has become a full-out line extension. I suspect before too much longer the name will disappear from the bourbon package too.

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Hey Chuck.....It's $24.99 here in Texas. I also find its taste very clean and spicy, almost "bright", not muddy at all. Makes a good Manhattan too.

Randy

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Hey Chuck? how would you say it compares to the WT Rye 101 (current)? I think Tim or Randy posted some old school WT Rye found recently but I've never seen any of those.

Tony

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Virus_Of_Life

I just tasted this tonight for the first time, imagine that they have it at the bar in the Adams Mark hotel in St. Louis, and it is marvelous stuff! I don't know if it just the fact that I was tasting it for the first time or what, but this stuff shows complexity way beyond what I expected from a "6 year" old Rye.

A spicy entry with a sweet candy fruit finish. yummy!

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Has anyone seen this in California yet?

Aside from Handy, I've no other open bottle of everyday rye.

:drinking: ...mmm, rye.

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Virus_Of_Life
Has anyone seen this in California yet?

Aside from Handy, I've no other open bottle of everyday rye.

:drinking: ...mmm, rye.

I looked Lear right before I came back to StL and didn't see it anywhere so I doubt it's made its way out yet...

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Has anyone seen this in California yet?

Aside from Handy, I've no other open bottle of everyday rye.

:drinking: ...mmm, rye.

You call Handy an "everyday rye"??:bigeyes:

Holy crap I love the stuff, but I want it to last!

Scott

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OK, someone has to break up this love fest and be cranky. I had a pour recently at a big whiskey tasting here in Boston. It was perfectly fine, nothing wrong with it, but nothing great to make me need more either.

I like the younger ryes like WT Rye-101 and Baby-Saz for their bright sparkle and youthful fruitiness. I also love the older ryes like Sazerac and VWFRR for their age, richness, power, and complexity.

I found the RR rye-90 to fall into a middle ground that does not interest me. It was old enough to loose that youthful sparkle and start to dull and flatten out a bit, but not old enough to pick up richness and complexity.

Not a bad rye, but I don't personally care for middle of the road. Young and older whiskies have their own unique positive attributes, but this in-betweener doesn't seem to have the positives of either end, and doesn't show me anything particularly amazing at middle age.

Perhaps WT should show us a 12yo rye...

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You call Handy an "everyday rye"??:bigeyes:

Holy crap I love the stuff, but I want it to last!

Scott

Clarification, Scott.

I meant to say I have no open bottle of an "everyday" rye. :grin:

BTW, I called Ed at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley and he told me the "numbers are in" but the WTRRR has not hit the distributors yet.

Looks like Handy is my not-nearly-everyday-Rye.

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I would agree with Mike's take on this. I also found it to be rather "middling" in it's profile. Actually, had a difficult time believing it was a straight rye. From nose to finish, I just found it to plod along, and not delivering any of the spiciness, boldness and distinction that many of the other ryes deliver. And, when I drink rye, I want distinction. Middle of the road is not a place for rye, IMO. It was $26.99 at Cork n Bottle in Covington. For that money, I'd have to go with the Baby Saz every time.

JOE

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I would agree with Mike's take on this.

Yeah!!

I wonder if this is on purpose, a 'tamed' down rye for the masses, ala the mainstreaming of Russell's Reserve bourbon. RR for the everyman, original for the man who knows...

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Virus_Of_Life
OK, someone has to break up this love fest and be cranky.
I would agree with Mike's take on this. I also found it to be rather "middling" in it's profile. Actually, had a difficult time believing it was a straight rye. From nose to finish, I just found it to plod along, and not delivering any of the spiciness, boldness and distinction that many of the other ryes deliver. And, when I drink rye, I want distinction. Middle of the road is not a place for rye, IMO. It was $26.99 at Cork n Bottle in Covington. For that money, I'd have to go with the Baby Saz every time.
Yeah!!

I wonder if this is on purpose, a 'tamed' down rye for the masses, ala the mainstreaming of Russell's Reserve bourbon. RR for the everyman, original for the man who knows...

Ouch, cranky is right :skep: :lol:

Well, I thought it was very good and showed enough signs of both but not too much of either. I guess I was tired of the altogether young or old as dirt Ryes and wanted something in the middle.

To each their own... That said, I did NOT buy a bottle while in Kentucky.

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Well, I thought it was very good and showed enough signs of both but not too much of either. I guess I was tired of the altogether young or old as dirt Ryes and wanted something in the middle.

Fair enough. It sounds like we are actually in agreement, while offering different opinions based on personal preference. I don't want to discourage anyone from trying or buying it. A variety of opinions is always helpful in getting a feel for something. What doesn't appeal to me will be perfect for someone else.

I also agree that we desparately need a middle aged rye. I applaud the attempt, I just don't think anyone has gotten it right yet.

Cheers!

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I applaud the attempt, I just don't think anyone has gotten it right yet.

Cheers!

Well Mike I have tasted at least 2 middle age ryes that really have hit the spot for me. Unfortunately they are not possible to get anymore here. Rittenhouse 10 Y BIB (sold out) and old st Nick winter rye that are 9 years (sold out here but at least as I think still available in Japan). The later is one of the best whiskeys I have ever had. And what about Handy? That one seems to be a favourite among many members here.

Leif

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Handy is a nice rye, agreed. Another I thought of, but have never tried is some original VWFRR, back when it actually was 13 years old.

Interestingly, a few weeks back I mixed some baby-Saz and regular Saz in a glass to see if I could vat a decent middle aged rye. The result was certainly OK, but not as good as either of the ingredients.

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The positioning of the two lines at Wild Turkey seems to be to leave the Wild Turkey brand more traditional, 101 proof and higher (ignore the 80 proof, they do), and keep their super-premium stuff under the Turkey nameplate.

The Russell's Reserve brand is being used to appeal to entry level straight whiskey drinkers, younger people who are maybe coming to whiskey from vodka, or coming to straight whiskey from Jack & Coke, and the like. The proof, the profile and the price all tell me it's positioned in the same segment as Maker's, Woodford, Beam Black, Knob Creek, Four Roses Small Batch, Ridgemont 1792, Evan Williams Single Barrel, Bulleit, and Eagle Rare 10-year-old.

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....The Russell's Reserve brand is being used to appeal to entry level straight whiskey drinkers, younger people who are maybe coming to whiskey from vodka, or coming to straight whiskey from Jack & Coke, and the like. The proof, the profile and the price all tell me it's positioned in the same segment as Maker's, Woodford, Beam Black, Knob Creek, Four Roses Small Batch, Ridgemont 1792, Evan Williams Single Barrel, Bulleit, and Eagle Rare 10-year-old.

This begs the question what negative image do young drinkers have of Wild Turkey. Admittedly, WT does have a certain "bad ass" image continually perpetuated amongst the young crowd but at the same time the brand has always stood for quality. Is it loosing its "quality image" among the younger set?

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This begs the question what negative image do young drinkers have of Wild Turkey. Admittedly, WT does have a certain "bad ass" image continually perpetuated amongst the young crowd but at the same time the brand has always stood for quality. Is it loosing its "quality image" among the younger set?

Brad, I think your answer as to what the younger set thinks, lies in the "What planet do we live on?" thread. I don't think the name "Wild Turkey" fits with the image they're looking for. And, that demographic cares alot about image.

JOE

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I'm 43, and when I was of college age I had the impression that Wild Turkey was some crazy get drunk quick and puke later stuff ala Yukon Jack, Peppermint Schnapps, Southern Comfort, etc. I have no idea where this image came from, but that's what I thought it was.

Many many years later I educated myself about all things whiskey and learned that it was a very highly regarded bourbon. Imagine my surprise!

So I totally understand the recent marketing moves with the Russells Reserve brand and little or no mention of "Wild Turkey" on the label.

I think that most of the old time honored bourbon brand names sound very hillbilly to those who didn't grow up in bourbon country, and are a huge marketing problem as far as attracting a new generation of enthusiasts.

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There seems to be two camps forming with regard to taste impressions of this new rye from WT. I was hoping for a clear consensus. Its likely to be one of those Items I would have to order from Binny's. I was down in Peoria this past weekend, nothing down there. I was up in the Quad Cities just yesterday, nothing up there either.

Chuck mentioned a "cotton candy sweetness", something I wouldn't normally associate with WT Rye 101. In fact that phrase reminded me of the bottle of Templeton Rye I had. Much of that bottle got used up making Old Fashionds, where the cotton candy element was more welcome.

As things stand now, If I'm a bit flush with cash and I happen to see a bottle when out and about I may pick one up but I doubt I'll go out of my way to search it out or pay the shipping charges to get it from Binny's.

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Developing Russell's Reserve as a bourbon for the younger crowd doesn't necessarily mean there is anything wrong with Wild Turkey's image. A line extension gives you more shelf space, more opportunities to connect with any consumer in another way.

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Developing Russell's Reserve as a bourbon for the younger crowd doesn't necessarily mean there is anything wrong with Wild Turkey's image. A line extension gives you more shelf space, more opportunities to connect with any consumer in another way.

I'm in total agreement. Wild Turkey has it's image, and it is successful for it's target. The key here, is the image that the new target consumer of their bourbon, is trying to project. And I agree with WT, that addressing this with another line is a sound strategy. It's a tried and true one for many consumer products.

Chuck, will any print, TV, radio, billboard, advertising accompany this launch?

JOE

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I also have no problem with what WT is doing with RR. They're developing a line extension and chasing a different target audience for them. WT is satisfying its long term customers with WT 101 and its regular rye bottlings. They're working the top shelf with KS, RB and the occasional limited releases such as Tribute and the new WT American Spirit. And they're producing a "softer" product with the RR offerings.

If a newbie to bourbon were to ask for recommendations to get started down the path, I think the RR offerings make excellent choices with their lower proofs and softer flavors. Most members on this board aren't looking for that, but hey, we're not their targeted customer for RR. They offer us WT 101, KS and WT AS.

Randy

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