Wild Turkey’s latest ultra-premium release is a real treat. The limited edition, 17-year-old Bourbon ($150) was pet project of the brand’s newest master distiller, Eddie.
In 1997, Wild Turkey had a surplus of Bourbon and no warehouse space left, so Eddie stored several barrels in a friend’s stone warehouse. After several years, he brought the barrels back to Wild Turkey’s wooden warehouses.
“Master’s Keep is the result of a lot of experimentation, patience and faith,” said Eddie Russell. “The sweet spot for Bourbon aging is usually between 8-12 years because older Bourbons tend to become too woody or spicy from sitting too long in the barrel. What I was able to do with Master’s Keep was retain the Bourbon’s rich caramel and vanilla flavors by aging the barrels in both stone and wood warehouses, sampling from them every few months to decide their next move.”
The bourbon is also lower proof than some Wild Turkey varieties. Barreled at 107 proof, the whiskey was 89 proof when dumped and 86.8 proof (43.4% alc./vol.) when bottled – a result of the time these particular barrels spent aging in stone warehouses.
Jimmy Russell added, “I tend to not like Bourbons aged longer than 12 or 13 years because they lose the caramel and vanilla flavors, but Eddie and I both agree thanks to the unique way this whiskey was aged we have something special here that we truly hope our Wild Turkey fans and Bourbon connoisseurs enjoy.”
Master’s Keep is delicate yet distinctly Wild Turkey. With a smooth and silky introduction that transforms into caramel and vanilla sweetness, and finishes with a satisfying burst of spiciness and oak, it is one of the finest sipping whiskies to ever come from the distillery. It is a golden hue, perhaps lighter than one might expect from a 17 year old whiskey. The color is attributed to the whiskey’s time in the stone warehouses, where the liquid would have less interaction with the barrel’s charred wood thanks to the cooler temperatures within.
Delivered in a special glass bottle with an etched “wild turkey,” the bourbon will have a special place on the shelves and in the glasses of Wild Turkey fans and collectors alike. This latest output is being released only in small quantities, so get it while you can.