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Russell’s Reserve 10 Year vs Single Barrel Bourbon (2024)

Russell’s Reserve 10 Year vs Single Barrel

Russell’s Reserve 10-year and Russell’s Reserve single barrel usually sit close to each other on liquor shelves, and many of you may wonder what’s with the big difference in their price point.  

Is the single barrel a nice upgrade over the 10-year spirit? 

If you’re torn between Russell’s Reserve 10 year vs single barrel, you better finish this blog.

Comparing Russell’s Reserve 10 Year vs Single Barrel  

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel & 10-Year Bourbons Bottles

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel and 10-year bourbon Kentucky straight bourbon underwent different production processes. 

The Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel is a premium bourbon whiskey that comes from a single aging barrel and is not blended with other bourbons.

On the other hand, Russell’s Reserve 10-year bourbon is a small batch and a blend of different bourbons with a minimum age of 10 years to achieve the consistent taste of the bottle.  

Russell’s Reserve single barrel contains higher alcohol content and is more expensive than Russell Reserve 10-year bourbon. 

The 10-year-old bourbon was launched earlier than the single barrel expression. Also, the 10-year bourbon has an age statement, while the Single Barrel does not. 

Head To Head Battle 

History & Origin

Both Russell’s Reserve bourbons come from the combined knowledge of Master Distiller Jimmy and Eddie Russell. 

In 2001, the 10-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon debuted as a 101-proof bourbon, and four years later, the brand decided to put it into the 90-proof bottle. 

It was in 2013 when the brand decided to introduce the Russell’s Reserve single barrel bourbon in the bourbon world.

It is a non-chill filtered, 110-proof whiskey from individual aging barrels. 

Production Process 

distillery copper still

Another big difference between the 10-year and single barrel is the production process because a single barrel is bottled from individual aging barrels while a 10-year is a small batch bourbon. 

“Single barrel is that each barrel has its own personality, but still captures the rich, creamy toffee vanilla style of Russell’s Reserve.”

– Jimmy Russell, Master Distiller

Both bourbons use a similar mash bill recipe: 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley.

However, they have different tastes because the 10-year bourbon is blended for consistency. 

In addition, the single barrel bourbon boasts a higher alcohol proof than the 10-year bourbon.

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel features 55% (110 proof), while the 10-year features 45% ABV (90 proof).  

Aging Process & Age Statement

Russell Reserve 10-year bears an age statement while the Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel does not. 

Based on distilled and dump dates on the bottles, the single barrel is believed to be aged for at least eight years.

On the other hand, Russell’s Reserve 10-year is matured for a decade. 

Both bourbons are aged in no.4 alligator char oak barrels for great color and flavor profile. The aging process gives identity to the bourbon whiskey [1]. 

Tasting Notes of Russell’s Reserve 10 Year vs Single Barrel

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel on top of a wooden table

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon

Palate: Bold, spicy, deep complex with notes of creamy toffee, vanilla, caramel, and licorice

Color/Hue: Coppery red

Nose: Brown sugar, vanilla, nuts, cinnamon, and oak

Finish: Long, sweet, spicy, citrus, charred oak, and malty notes

Russell’s Reserve 10-Year Bourbon

Palate: Rich, vanilla, spicy caramel, butterscotch, and citrus 

Color/Hue: Copper and amber hue

Nose: Citrus and orange peel with a bunch of maples, oak, butterscotch, and vanilla

Finish: Sweet, smooth with lots of lingering spice notes, toffee, and brown sugar

Ownership & Distillery

Wild Turkey owns both Russel’s Reserve bourbon whiskeys.

The brand is a combined effort of father-and-son duo Jimmy and Eddie Russell, with more than a hundred collective years of experience.

The distilled spirits are produced in the Wild Turkey Distillery, which is found in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. 

Price & Value

Bottles of Russell Reserve 10-years

Russell’s Reserve expressions offer an infusion of timeless tradition and modern innovation, and every bottle is crafted and dedicated to today’s bourbon drinkers. 

Russel Reserve 10-year bourbon is cheaper than the single barrel offering. 

A bottle of 10-year-old bourbon costs around $39.99 in Drizly online, while the Russell’s Reserve single barrel is roughly $64.99.  

FAQs Related to Russell’s Reserve 10 Year vs Single Barrel

Is Russell’s Reserve single barrel allocated?

No, Russell’s Reserve single barrel is not allocated. There are no changes in the bourbon production of Russell’s Reserve. 
However, due to high demand, you might feel a slight shortage in the inventory. 

Which is a better mixer, Russell’s Reserve single barrel or 10-year?

The Russell’s Reserve 10-year is a better mixer because it has a nice flavor profile that will stand out when combined with mixers. 
Russell’s Reserve is best consumed neat and on the rocks to appreciate more of its taste. You can also use it as a cocktail base, but for its price, it would be such a waste. 

What Are the Main Differences Between Russell’s Reserve 10 Year and Single Barrel?

Russell’s Reserve 10 Year is a small-batch bourbon aged for a decade, offering a balanced flavor profile with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak. In contrast, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel is hand-selected from individual barrels, resulting in unique flavor variations and typically a more intense taste experience.

Which Bourbon Is Smoother: Russell’s Reserve 10 Year or Single Barrel?

Russell’s Reserve 10 Year is often perceived as smoother due to its longer aging process, which allows the flavors to mellow and harmonize over time. However, the smoothness of Single Barrel can vary depending on the specific barrel selected.

Which Bourbon Is More Suitable for Sipping Neat: Russell’s Reserve 10 Year or Single Barrel?

Both Russell’s Reserve 10 Year and Single Barrel are suitable for sipping neat, but the choice ultimately depends on personal taste preferences. Russell’s Reserve 10 Year offers a balanced and approachable flavor profile, while Single Barrel provides the opportunity to experience unique barrel characteristics.

Can Russell’s Reserve 10 Year and Single Barrel Be Used in Cocktails?

Yes, both Russell’s Reserve 10 Year and Single Barrel can be used in cocktails, adding depth of flavor and complexity to classic bourbon-based drinks like the Old Fashioned or Manhattan. However, their premium quality may make them better suited for sipping on their own.

Do Russell’s Reserve 10 Year and Single Barrel Have Different Aging Processes?

Russell’s Reserve 10 Year undergoes aging for a decade in charred oak barrels, allowing the flavors to develop and mature over time. Single Barrel, on the other hand, is aged in individual barrels, with each barrel contributing unique characteristics to the final product.

Are Russell’s Reserve 10 Year and Single Barrel Considered Limited Edition Bourbons?

While Russell’s Reserve 10 Year and Single Barrel are not typically marketed as limited edition bourbons, they are produced in small batches or selected from individual barrels, resulting in limited availability and unique flavor profiles.

Do Russell’s Reserve 10 Year and Single Barrel Offer Different Flavor Profiles?

Yes, Russell’s Reserve 10 Year typically offers a balanced and complex flavor profile with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak, while Single Barrel may showcase more pronounced flavors influenced by the specific barrel characteristics, such as spice, fruit, or oak.

Final Verdict

Russell’s Reserve bourbons have similarities, but single barrel is better in many aspects.

Russel’s Reserve single barrel strikes a great balance of taste even at 110 proof.  

The 10-year-old bourbon has a nice mouthfeel but if you want an upgrade to Russell’s Reserve 10 years, go for the single barrel. 

Russel Reserve single barrel has its personality but manages to capture the trademark of Russell’s 10-year-old bourbon. 

However, it can be slightly expensive, but who would mind if, for around $64.99, you get a more versatile, complex, bold, and rich bourbon whiskey?

Reference:

  1. https://www.thespruceeats.com/effect-of-aging-on-liquor-759921
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