Let's dive into the recently launched Wild Turkey Bottled in Bond 17yo from their Master's Keep collection. Reviewed by Oliver Maruda, CoFounder TWL.
Before we jump into the whisky review, I wanted to clarify a few important facts.
- This isn’t Wild Turkey 101, Rare Breed, or Russell’s Reserve - this is something else entirely.
- I’ve sampled this specific bottle of delicious bourbon on three separate occasions now, because as important as first impressions are, letting the bottle sit open for a bit and trying it on different days just ensures we try and give this bottle a fair go through it’s paces
- There are some specific whiskey regulations in the United States that define what constitutes Bottled In Bond, which are; the contribution barrels must have been distilled in one season, from one distillery, aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least four years and bottled at 100 proof (50% ABV).
- I believe this is the only second bottled in bond bourbon ever released by Wild Turkey to date.
- Aged for 17 years (which is considered quite old for a bourbon) at Wild Turkey’s Camp Nelson rickhouses. These rickhouses in particular have a reputation for producing some of Wild Turkey’s most unique and unusual bourbons, which got me super excited.
Region: Kentucky, USA
Distiller: Wild Turkey Distillery
Mash Bill: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Cask: New Charred Oak
Age: 17 Years
Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Colour
Limited to 14,400 bottles globally (the majority went to Turkey lovers in the States)
Nose: Baking spice, caramel, vanilla, dried cherries, cereal grain sweetness, medicinal sweetness, vanilla, caramel, warm spices, faint oak and banana.
Palate: Caramel, vanilla, leather, cherry syrup, caramel apple, baking spices, almost no oak taste and a hint of marshmallows. Great mouthfeel for the proof.
Finish: Medium finish with lots of spice, oak and dark sweets with hints of smoke
This is one exceptional bottle of bourbon whiskey. I am a big fan of the recent Master Keep releases, especially the Revival with its Oloroso Sherry finish (a wonderful marriage of American whiskey and Scotch Whisky flavours uniting) and the Master Keep Cornerstone might be the Rye whiskey pick of mine for 2020 (seriously, it’s that damn good). But this Wild Turkey Bottled In Bond 17 year old… wow, what a bourbon indeed. It’s quickly grown as one of my favourites. The higher ABV at 50% speaks to me.
Fans of Wild Turkey will instantly recognise familiar character of the nose of fresh grains, tanned leather and dried fruits. Compared to the 2015 edition, this release is a lot more savory, bright and less fruit-forward if that hopefully makes sense. Your typical vanillas and caramels are here in droves but a welcomed edition and grew as one lets the whiskey open up in the glass after a few minutes is this addition of cherry. On the palate we switch to more medicinal cherry, sweetness from cereal grains, biscuits and that all too familiar dried fruit and leather turkey profile. Fantastic. On return sips found hints of gingerbread, butterscotch, butter and jam lingering underneath. 17 years maturing has created a very complex flavour profile and on each sip you no doubt discover new flavours. Finish is sweet, woody, medium in length and at 50% ABV not hot at all. Throw over some ice if you want to tone down some of the initial punch but seriously this whiskey is superb and perfect for sipping on neat. On my third sample I paired it with a New England IPA called Bubble & Squeak, from Sauce Brewery in Marrickville NSW. Canned at 6.5% ABV. The beer accentuates the bourbon’s sweeter tasting notes. Combo breaker of a boilermaker, highly recommend and works with any of your favourite NEIPA brews.
I keep returning to multiple sips of this bourbon. Won’t last long and no doubt need to score a second bottle soon. Massive props to Eddie Russel – a true master distiller in his own right.
What does Wild Turkey Master Distiller Eddie Russel have to say about his 17 year old Bottled in Bond?
We reached out to our good friends at Wild Turkey to ask Master Distiller Eddie what excites him most about this latest Master’s Keep release? “Allowing the liquid to rest for 17 years to age in the Wild Turkey Camp Nelson rickhouses is what makes this a perfect rare bourbon.”
Couldn’t agree more Eddie and appreciate the time from your busy schedule to chat.
Purchase this bottle here:
Curious to try this new release. Pick up a bottle on TWL here: https://thewhiskylist.com.au/whisky/united-states/wild-turkey/wild-turkey-master-s-keep-bottled-in-bond
What is the Wild Turkey Master’s Keep series?
Introduced in 2015, simply titled “Wild Turkey Master’s Keep,” the release was a seventeen-year, 86.8-proof bourbon aged in both traditional wood/clad rickhouses and offsite stone rickhouses. It was at the time, and arguably remains, Wild Turkey’s most unique bourbon ever bottled.
Since then, Wild Turkey have released four other bottlings, including Master’s Keep Decades, Master’s Keep Revival, plus the more recent release of a rye based spirit Master’s Keep Cornerstone in late 2019 and just now landed, the Master’s Keep Bottled In Bond.
About Wild Turkey
The distillery for Wild Turkey Bourbon is located in Kentucky, situated on a deep limestone shelf on the Kentucky River. The shelf acts as a natural filter and provides the distillery with crystal clear water, vital to making such a high-quality product. Wild Turkey features the legendary father and son Master Distilling team of Jimmy and Eddie Russell, who have nearly 100 years of collective experience working at the Wild Turkey distillery.
The famous Wild Turkey brand name first came about back in 1940 when distillery executive Thomas McCarthey took a few warehouse samples on a Wild Turkey hunting trip with a group of friends. The following year, his friends asked him for “some of that Wild Turkey whiskey” and the brand was born. Wild Turkey is distilled and put into new oak barrels at a much lower ABV than most bourbons. This results in a much richer flavour, as less is cooked out during the production process. Ageing in the highest quality new American oak barrels with the heaviest char available (the Number 4 “alligator” char), imparts a smooth flavour and deep amber colour to the whiskey.
The barrels are filled at the distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.
Learn more about Wild Turkey at wildturkeybourbon.com.au
Special thanks to the team at Wild Turkey Australia, Wild Turkey and the Campari Group for providing a bottle to review. Love the custom engraving cheers!
All photos supplied by Wild Turkey, Campari Group and TWL.