4 Best Bourbons to Buy Instead of Russell's Reserve 13 Year
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4 Best Whiskeys to Buy When You Can’t Find Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Bourbon

If you’re a fan of Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Bourbon, you know this highly sought-after whiskey isn’t becoming easier to find despite newer releases being batched.

But, don’t sweat it. While it may seem like no other whiskey can replace the one you love, there are still plenty of options available for those who are willing to explore.

We’ve got four alternatives for you that can hold their own against Russell’s Reserve 13: four bourbons, one honorable-mention bourbon and one creative option.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Russell's Reserve 13

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Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is released three times a year and retails for $80, which is significantly less than Russell’s Reserve 13 Year, which retails for $100 but is rarely found anywhere near MSRP.

The third and final release from the 2022 Limited Edition calendar is Elijah Craig Barrel Proof C922. It boasts an ABV of 62.4% and a 12-year age statement.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof and Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Similarities:

  • Mashbill: These bourbons have extremely similar mashbills. Russell’s Reserve 13 Year’s mashbill is composed of 78% corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof c922’s mashbill comprises slightly less corn (75%), the exact same amount of malted barley and a bit less rye (10%).
  • Age: Both have been aged a similar amount of time, with Elijah Craig aged 12 years and Russell’s 13.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof and Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Differences

  • Price: This is probably the biggest difference between the two, with Elijah Craig easily findable for less than $100. Russell’s 13, however, will typically run you anywhere from $300 to $700 if you’re buying secondary, and $99-$199 if you have a connection at a local store.
  • ABV: While Russell’s Reserve 13 does have an impressive ABV at 57.4%, Elijah Craig wins the heat battle, clocking in at a whopping 62.4% ABV.

Calumet 15 Year

https://whiskeyraiders.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Calumet-15yr.jpg

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Calumet is another batched bourbon that makes a solid replacement for Russell’s Reserve 13 Year.

While this Calumet bottle is a bit older than the Russell’s, it does have a lower ABV. However, its flavor profile can go toe to toe with Russell’s in a way that few other bourbons can.

Calumet 15 Year and Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Similarities

  • Flavor Profile: These two whiskeys are very similar when it comes to flavor. Both offer notes of wood, cherry and brown sugar, to name a few. Both are complex and without overpowering sweetness, so if that’s your thing, Calumet could be the bourbon for you.

Calumet 15 Year and Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Differences

  • Price: While Russell’s 13 will run you anywhere from $99-$700, Calumet 15 retails closer to the $100 mark.
  • ABV: Russell’s clocks in at 57.4% ABV, but Calumet is bottled a bit lower at 52.5%.
  • Age: Russell’s has been aged 13 years, but Calumet is two years its senior, having been aged 15 years.

Knob Creek 12 Year

Russell's Reserve 13

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Launched in 2019 as a special release, Knob Creek 12 Year Old Straight Bourbon is now an ongoing offering from Jim Beam. This bourbon is limited in its own way, similar to Russell’s 13, but Knob Creek is way easier to find and almost a perfect stand-in for Russell’s.

Knob Creek 12 Year and Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Similarities

  • Flavor Profile: Both are sweet, with tasting notes including fruits like cherry.
  • Availability: Both are limited. However, Knob Creek is far easier to find.
  • Age: Knob Creek is aged 12 years and Russell’s 13, making them only a year apart.

Knob Creek 12 Year and Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Differences

  • Price: While Russell’s 13 is very expensive Knob Creek 12 retails closer to the $60 mark.
  • ABV: Russell’s clocks in at 57.4% ABV, while Knob Creek 12 is bottled at a lower 50%.

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof

Russell's Reserve 13

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Woodford Reserve Batch Proof will be one of the closest dupes to Russell’s Reserve 13. This Woodford Reserve bottling is also high-proof and, despite lacking an age statement, shares a lot of the same flavor.

Lastly, like most of the whiskeys on this list, Batch Proof is far easier to find. It is, however, the most expensive option on this list.

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof and Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Similarities

  • Flavor Profile: Both offer rich flavor and fruity notes.
  • Price: Both whiskeys retail for over $200, although it’s worth noting that Woodford Reserve Batch Proof will typically still be found for a much lower price than Russell’s Reserve 13 Year.

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof and Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Differences

  • Age: Russell’s Reserve is 13 years old. Woodford Reserve Batch Proof has no age statement.
  • ABV: Woodford Reserve Batch Proof is bottled at 62.9% ABV, and Russell’s clocks in at 57.4%.

Get Creative With a Barrel Pick

If you can’t find the bottle of whiskey that you’re craving, you can always get creative by doing a barrel pick.

Distilleries regularly offer private experiences where individuals are given the opportunity to work with a master distiller and select an entire whiskey barrel for their own personal use. The resulting bottle will feature special labels or stickers indicating it’s part of the barrel program.

While this definitely isn’t cheap, (costs can run up to $15,000-$20,000 per barrel), it’s a great way to get your hands on something unique that none of your friends will have or even be able to find.

However, due to federal regulations, you will have to partner with a liquor store in order to receive your personalized selection.

Honorable Mention: Regular ol’ Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon

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Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon is a whiskey that often goes unrecognized but should be given its due credit. This bourbon is hand-selected for its unique flavor profile and surprisingly smooth finish.

While it may not be as sought after as its 13-year-old counterpart, it offers many of the same qualities while being easier to find and significantly less expensive.

So, the next time you’re at your local liquor store and can’t find Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Bourbon, try one of these other great bourbons. You might be surprised at how well they stack up against Russell’s 13 Year.

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