Review #270: Russell's Reserve 2003

I got lucky and got the call to get a bottle of Russell’s Reserve 2003 this week. I’m a big Russell’s Reserve fan and I enjoyed the Master’s Keep 17 year BiB from earlier this year even if I did think it was a bit pricey so I decided to take the plunge and buy a bottle. Let’s see how it holds up!

s Reserve 2003


Russell’s Reserve 2003

Age: 16 years

Abv: 89.5 proof

Price: $250


Nose: Surprisingly robust for the proof with rich oak and baking spices, Wild Turkey funk, sweet caramel and vanilla notes.

Taste: Sweeter than the nose with more caramel and vanilla along with something else I couldn’t place. The spice and oak picking up on the back of the palate. The specific taste of the baking spice notes is very nice. Unfortunately a relatively thin mouthfeel.

Finish: Very long finish with lingering oak, baking spice and sweet vanilla.


This is an excellent whiskey and is very well balanced. That said the low proof definitely takes a toll on the mouthfeel and there weren’t any really standout notes compared to a good Russell’s pick. On the other hand I was surprised how strong the nose was and how long the finish was with the low proof.

Overall I’d give a slight edge to the Master’s Keep 17 Year Bottled in Bond if you had to pick one of this year’s high end Turkey releases and I don’t think this bottle justifies the price. I am going to enjoy drinking it though.


TL;DR: Great whiskey at an unfortunately low proof and too high a price.

8 - an excellent bottle I’d like to have at home

Poor - Overpriced, not worth the money



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