Reviews #76-77: Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Showdown: Moonshine vs Tejas

A local whiskey bar/restaurant, Moonshine Grill, does a ton of barrel picks and they have a system where each time you order a pour of one of their barrels you get a raffle ticket to be able to buy a bottle at retail(lpt: you can also order your wife a whiskey sour with their cheapest barrel pick to get extra tickets). So I got super lucky tonight(or drank way too much over the last few weeks to stack the deck) and won the raffle for their latest Russel’s Reserve single barrel. I went down there after work to pick it up and couldn’t wait to do a blind side by side with the Tejas Liquor Russel’s Reserve pick I had at home and my thankfully my wife could tell how excited I was an went along with my antics. Moonshine and Wild Turkey named this pick “Cheesy Gold Foil” after the original Wild Turkey 12 year bottles with their distinct gold foil label.

Glass Number 1 - Tejas Liquor by Prince

Age: NAS

Abv: 110 proof

Color: Deep copper

Price: $55.99

Barrel: 18-0801

Rickhouse: F

Floor: 5

Neat

Nose: Mostly sweet with a touch of spice. Strong vanilla and caramel notes with some oak and baking spice in the background.

Taste: It starts with all sweet caramel and vanilla but has a slightly too tannic, bitter oak note at the end.

Finish: The medium length finish recovers from the brief bitter note with warm spice notes and oak and just a bit of caramel.

Glass Number 2 - Moonshine Grill 15th Anniversary Cheesy Gold

Age: 12+ years

Abv: 110 proof

Color: Also a deep copper

Price: $58.99

Barrel: 14-2772

Rickhouse: A

Floor: 4

Neat

Nose: It’s all goodness with brown sugar and rich oak notes

Taste: More brown sugar is joined by warm baking spice notes and hints of oak

Finish: Medium to long finish with warm spice and brown sugar notes throughout

Conclusion

I was nervous going into my first blind bourbon review(side note my first blind review was scotch) with two Russel’s Reserve picks but I did manage to correctly identify them mostly thanks to that slightly bitter note in the Tejas pick. When I nosed the first glass I definitely thought it was going to be the better dram but that bit of bitterness knocked it down a peg for me. It wasn’t a bad note necessarily but it didn’t fit the rest of the palate for me. The second dram reminded me of Old Rip Van Winkle, one of my favorite bourbons, with the rich brown sugar and oak notes and definitely outclassed the first pour. Overall Russel’s Reserve picks are a great value this crazy bourbon market and the Moonshine pick was a standout among those picks. I’ve previously reviewed Oak Liquor Cabinet’s pick and it was a little hot for taste but still quite good especially with an ice cube.

Tejas Liquor by Prince

8 - an excellent bottle I’ll buy from time to time

Moonshine Grill 15th Anniversary Cheesy Gold

9 - a favorite I’d like to keep on my shelf

I’ve also managed to track down a sample of an actual Wild Turkey 12 year and will be doing a side by side with the Moonshine pick in the near future.

Scale

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