You’ve had single barrel whiskey, but what about single rickhouse? Whiskey that may not have been produced at the same time, but which has all been matured in the same building. It’s kind of a genius idea, and it’s the basis for a new series of whiskeys from Wild Turkey’s Russell’s Reserve. The new Single Rickhouse Collection will be an annual series, with the first hailing from Camp Nelson C, a “tin and timber” building which was built in 1946 and torn down in 2021. 72 barrels were selected from “center cut” floors 3 and 4 of the 7-story rickhouse, all over 10 years old. (The whiskey itself doesn’t carry a formal age statement.)
We received a small sample for review, so let’s see what Camp Nelson C has to offer.
Boom, the nose is full of spice right away — Wild Turkey 101 amped up to 11. There’s plenty of vanilla-dusted, charry wood in the mix, but it’s not astringent or overpowering, lending a racy clove note and some pepper to the whiskey, turning more toward cayenne as it develops in the glass. The palate doesn’t diverge overly, if at all. Peppery, then nutty, on the attack, and quite approachable even at its full 56.2% abv — in fact, it feels downright quiet much of the time. Things wind their way toward notes of almond brittle and, soon enough, lots of cinnamon as the whiskey develops in the glass. The red pepper is present but dulled enough to let plenty of sweetness come into focus, the finish settling into a groove of caramel candies and vanilla pudding, with a hint of char gripping the back of the throat.
This bourbon offers something I almost never say about Wild Turkey products, which is that it is almost perfectly balanced, riding the line between sweet and savory with a deft hand. It feels like it was pulled from the barrel at just the right time; any longer and the oak might have started to assert its dominance in an unwelcome manner. I realize most people won’t have the chance to taste this very limited release from the Russell boys, but should you encounter it in your whiskey drinking journey, I encourage you to give it a taste.
A / $250