I was in Spec's on Friday, and I noticed a single bottle of Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve 101 proof. You may recall that I have previously written about Russell's Reserve, but in its new packaging and its lower proof. About two or three years ago, Austin Nichols decided to reposition Russell's Reserve as a more upscale brand, appealing to boutique Bourbon-swilling yuppies. Accordingly, they hired a graphics designer to improve the label, put the whiskey in a more attractive bottle, and began using a wood-topped cord instead of a plastic-topped one. Oh, yeah: they also consulted their marketing research and discovered that boutique Bourbon-swilling yuppies liked their Bourbon with the proof in the nineties instead of over 100. Accordingly, the proof was dropped to 90. I don't know why Spec's had a singleton bottle of the old configuration laying around, but they did; and I snapped it up. It's not exactly a dusty, but it's as close as I've ever come to finding one.
I know that it will shock you, but it tastes a lot like the 90 proof version. Amazingly enough, two Bourbons of the same age from the same distillery sometimes taste alike. It other words, there's a lot of that vanilla creme brulee dessert Bourbon goodness that I like about the WT products that I've tried. The difference is that the 101 proof version has a decent amount of orange in both the aroma and the palate, as if someone included some orange zest in that vanilla creme brulee. I like it. But you probably already could have guessed that.