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Old Forester Single Barrel vs Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Old Forester Single Barrel vs Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Old Forester Single Barrel

NoseBanana, vanilla, oak, banana, ethanol
PalateBanana, caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, oak char
FinishLong, cherry, cinnamon, spice, oak
Alcohol content130 proof (65% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toOld Forester 1920, Knob Creek Single Barrel

Nose is quite rich and aromatic. It delivers a hit of banana, along cherry, vanilla, oak and a fair hit of ethanol.

On the palate, you get more of that banana note from the nose, followed by caramel, vanilla, brown sugar and oak char. Body is creamy providing a chewy texture.

The finish is long and pleasantly warm, leaving an aftertaste of cherry, cinnamon, rye spice and a tad of oak bitterness that brings balance to the pour.

The Single Barrel is creamy, tasty, yet smooth for something bottled at barrel strength, meaning it was not diluted with water before bottling.

Overall, this is a very good bourbon, fairly warm but that does not drink as a barrel strength pour making a must-try for those who like bourbons full of character.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Old Forester Single Barrel:

  • No age statement but must be aged for around 4 years.
  • Bottled at barrel strength (no water dilution).
  • Drawn from a single barrel.
  • Made from a mash bill comprised of 72% corn, 18% rye, 10% malted barley.
  • Old Forester was founded in 1870 by George Garvin Brown and named for Dr. William Forrester, who prescribed bourbon to his patients.
  • Old Forester is owned by Brown-Forman, along Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve.

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel

NoseCherry, vanilla, brown sugar, oak
PalateFruity, baking spices, vanilla, charred oak
FinishLong, spicy, with notes of citrus and charred oak
Alcohol content110 proof (55% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water, rocks
Similar toRussell’s Reserve 10, Blanton’s Single Barrel

Russell’s is crafted by Wild Turkey, the difference lies in the barrels being hand-picked by Eddie Russell and the bourbon is aged in a premium location within the distillery.

The nose is rich and complex, with a cherry note, along vanilla, brown sugar and charred oak.

The palate hits with an enjoyable fruity flavor, rich in baking spice, vanilla custard and charred oak with a creamy feel to it.

The finish stays with you nice and long, is tasty, pleasantly warm, rich in spice, orange zest and the signature charred oak note of Wild Turkey.

This is a very nice sipping bourbon bottled at a high proof with no burn or bad bite.

It has sweet tasting notes well balanced against charred oak in a creamy body striking a satisfying bourbon.

If you have tasted the Russell’s 10 Year you will find the Single Barrel to be similar but better in every way as the higher proof makes it more tasty, complex and full-bodied.

This is an easy sipper on its own but a dash of water might come handy if you feel it warm.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Russell’s Single Barrel:

  • The Single Barrel is aged between 8 to 10 years in American oak casks that have been charred with a #4 char, also known as the Alligator Char.
  • The casks are hand-picked by Jimmy and Eddie Russell exclusively from the center of Wild Turkey’s rickhouse, which they believe is the best area for aging bourbon.
  • Each bottle is filled from a single cask before being labeled by hand.
  • This whisky was not chill-filtered, this is a common practice among the industry as it prevents the liquid from becoming hazy, but some purists assure that the filtering also removes precious tasting notes from the dram.
  • The mash bill is made from 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% malted barley.
  • Russell’s is part of the Wild Turkey family which in turn is owned by Campari from Italy.

Old Forester SB vs Russell’s Reserve SB: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Old Forester Single Barrel$88
Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel$63

Old Forester Single Barrel vs Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel: Which is better?

The Old Forester is supremely good

WhiskeyOld Forester Single BarrelRussell’s Reserve Single Barrel
  • Personally, I prefer the Old Forester which feels more robust and is incredibly smooth for something bottled at such proof.
  • This whiskey is better than the Birthday Bourbon and widely available making it a keeper.
  • The Russell’s Single Barrel is good, it could be named the Wild Turkey Rare Breed Single Barrel as it’s practically the same bourbon just that drawn from a single barrel.

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