Russell's Reserve 6 Year Rye

82 Flawed

A promising start on the nose and early palate fade quickly into overpowering black pepper on the end of the palate and throughout the finish, building to a one-dimensional disappointment.

Vital Stats
Wild Turkey Russells Reserve Rye 6
◾Distiller: Wild Turkey, Lawrenceburg, KY
◾ABV: 45% (Proof: 90º)
◾Mash Bill: 37% Corn, 51% Rye, 12% Barley Malt
◾Barrel Entry Proof: 114 (unconfirmed)
◾Barrel Char Level: #4
◾Age: 6 years
◾Price Paid: $36
◾Availability: Readily Available

What it is:

The entry level Rye in the Russell’s Reserve lineup, this 6 year expression follows Wild Turkey’s standard rye mash bill of 37% corn, 51% rye, and 12% barley malt.  It is bottled at 90º.

Packaging:Wild Turkey Russells Reserve Rye 6 2

Similar to the rest of the Russell’s Reserve Lineup, the 6 year rye is in a short, round glass bottle with natural cork.  The label is white, minimalistic, and while it won’t win any awards or call too much attention to itself on your bourbon shelf, it is attractive.


Black Pepper, lemon zest, and strong oak.


The initial burst of flavor is rife with lemon and citrus fruits, but is followed up quickly with a caramel and vanilla sweetness normally found in bourbons, not rye whiskeys.  The traditional rye black pepper flavors reassert themselves on the back of the palate.glencairn-amazon


Medium and warm, the black pepper spiciness dominates the finish, overpowering all the sweet citrus and caramel that showed such promise on the nose and early palate.  It becomes so strong it’s off-putting.


This started out with a really unique combination of bourbon sweetness and peppery spice, but it lost it completely on the finish, as the spicy black pepper notes completely overpowered everything that had built to that point.  It’s a shame, as Wild Turkey has a long history of producing excellent rye.  In the end, I can’t recommend a $36 rye whiskey with a flaw so glaring, when so many other better balanced offerings exist at much lower price points. Score: 82 out of 100 Points.

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About Author

Bill is the Co-Founder, Editor-in Chief, and official Bourbon-o-Phile for, and Founder and Chief Blending Officer for Four Gate Whiskey Company. He is a native of Louisville, KY in the heart of Bourbon Country. He attended the University of Kentucky in the mid to late 1990s. He has also been published on He has conducted various bourbon and whiskey tastings in cities across the country, and consulted for multiple national labels. He is married with two daughters, and lives in east Louisville. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BillStraub and email him at

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