Wild Turkey

Review: Russell's Reserve 10 Year's Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Russell's Reserve 10 2.jpg
ABV
45%
Aging
Charred Virgin Oak
Recipe
75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Distiller Wild Turkey (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)

I go back and forth on how much I like Wild Turkey. While they have some fantastic offerings at the higher levels, and their 101 and rare breeds have their charm - sometimes their products miss the mark for me. But, I can’t resist good bourbon….this represents one of the older and more refined regular bottles coming from Wild Turkey.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: LL/IC270901

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

The nose seems to showcase malt quite clearly. Green apple, pears, brown sugar, rich oak, heirloom corn grits, caramel, and a really nice set of baking spices and oiliness. There is a thick, rich, oaky sweetness on the nose. The nose also reminds me of freshly cracked hazlenuts – we used to have a tree. The palate seems to brings forth more dried fruit (apricots, prunes) and the richness of the oak and the spices remain at the core. The oak is slightly bitter on the palate. The finish has dried orange peel, dried apricot, baking spices, and a bit of tobacco.

I like this – it is definitely more refined than the younger versions (which have a roughness that give them some appeal). Pretty good for the price – these days at least.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: high at $55.


Review: Wild Turkey Master's Keep 17 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

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ABV
43.4%
Aging
17 Years; Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
~75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Distiller Wild Turkey (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)

This whiskey is at 43.4%, but it sits at cask strength! Typically, in Kentucky, the ABV increases in a cask, but not so for this particular whisky. Wild Turkey puts whiskey into the barrel at a bit of a lower ABV compared to some others - just 53.5%, but this whisky dropped more than 10% over its 17 year maturation. So, certainly, we can expect something a bit unique…

These particular barrels travelled over 200 miles over there lifetimes, between maturation in wood rickhouses, then stone warehouses, and then wood rickhouses once again. The movement was simply a matter of lack of space and inventory management, as well as water damage in the stone warehouse. Generally, the barrels were matured in a moist, damp environment compared to most bourbons - leading to a drop, rather than increase in ABV (ABV goes up in a barrel in a dry environment, but drops in a humid one).

This was Eddie Russell’s debut release as master distiller, and represents the oldest Wild Turkey to date.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: 0001

  • Bottling Code: LLNEB081530

  • Bottling Date: 2015

The nose is awesome! Rich and woody, with a nice set of fruits – baked peaches, prunes, plums, vanilla custard, dried apricot, vanilla icing, nice rye spices, coffee cake, cinnamon, with some nice grain notes emerging with time – at different times, first corn, then malt, then rye, at least in this tasting. There are some nice blueberry notes, too, like you see with well aged Canadian whisky or Scotch.

The palate is very clean, with some very nice old notes. Leather, oak tannins, vanilla, baking spices, white pepper, caramel, and a nuttiness that emerges very nicely in the middle. It’s very buttery – perhaps an understatment. Incredible mouthfeel. It finishes with some light earthiness and some citrus pith. Caramel rolls out into the finish, too, quite nicely.

Even after just one sip, I knew this was my favourite Wild Turkey that I’ve tasted (including the next two Master’s Keeps). This is very good. It lacks just a touch of richness that I would crave mid-palate, but that’s a very minor objection…

Very Highly Recommended (19% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average. Really good whisky, but pricy. It’s good enough not to be a bad buy against the market, but I also suppose that’s how cheap you find it for. I found this for about 115$ USD (~$140 CAD)


Review: Wild Turkey Longbranch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

IMG_3640.JPG
ABV
43%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
~75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Distiller Wild Turkey (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)

This whiskey was produced in collaboration between Wild Turkey and Matthew McConaughey - it has resulted in a bourbon about 8 years old which is filtered through both american oak charcaol and texas mesquite charcoal to soften out the whiskey a bit.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

The nose is spicy, with apple, oak, and corn – but it is quite clean and light for a bourbon. What glorious oak! It’s lighter than i expected for a wold turkey – which makes sense given the charcoal filtration. The taste is full of grain - dried fruit and rye, and nice vanilla laden oak, but also with light-spices  and dark fruit, and toasted notes. A very easy-going bourbon. The finish is oaky, with dried fruit. Lightly sweet. A very easy-going bourbon.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, based on $60. But, in the bourbon category, below average.


Review: Wild Turkey Rare Breed Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
54.1%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
~51% Rye, 37% Corn, 21% Malted Barley
Distiller Wild Turkey (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)

This whiskey is a near barrel proof bourbon, bottled at 54.1%, from Wild Turkey. It was originally released in 1991, and is a mix of bourbons 6-12 years old.


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Nose: The first thing I notice are almonds and caramel. Orange, allspice, dried apricot, peppers, light smoky ash, very light vanilla, and a bit of sourness to it as well. Oak drifts in and out, and the corn is present, along with a some good malt, and some notes that remind me of white flour. Interestingly, I also get a kidney bean note! There’s a bit of dense spiciness with a thread of bitterness which I find doesn’t really fit in too well with the rest of the whiskey. A bit of earthy, marshy notes as well – which seem to be coming alongside the corn. It’s complex, with a lot going on, but I don’t find it particularly elegant or balanced.

Taste: The rye comes in quite nicely on the palate, alongside the corn – it’s quite a big whiskey. Leather, tobacco, rye spice, caramel, pineapple, and a bit of orange. It finishes with some spices, including anise. A bit of detracting bitterness I think. This is good, and interesting, but not spectacular.

Finish: Anise, marzipan, and caramel…it’s a bit dry, with a tiny bit of bitterness and sweetness. Some of those marshy earthy notes too, which I suppose is the earthiness of the corn coming through, and even some earthy-mushroom notes.

Value: Average, at $68.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: 2015/09/17 14:11 LJ10946

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Rich...this is full of coconut, vanilla, oak, and fruit – plums, apricot, prunes, and dried peaches. It has a nice grainy character, with a nice earthiness and farm-like character to it. The palate balances the fruit, sweetness, and a light grain character. I’m enjoying this much more than the last batch of rare breed that I had - perhaps I got it wrong last time (it was just a small sample in 2015) or it’s actually better. The finish has fennel seed, oak, plum, and dried corn.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $61.


Review: Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

wild turkey 101 2.jpg
ABV
50.5%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
~75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Distiller Wild Turkey (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)

This whisky is matured 6-8 years, distilled to a low proof, and put in the high char barrels at low proof - often, the whisky comes out at around 109 proof - so this is nearly cask strength. Jimmy Russel, now the longest active master distiller in Kentucky has always been insistent on powerful and flavorful bourbons. This was off the market for a while and it is back - it is a favorite of many.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: 214B20713 LL E 1280700

  • Bottling Date: ~2017

Honey, prune, clove, corn, sharp green lettuce (with those terrific earthy notes), hazlenuts,  caramel, roasted apricots, and a light harshness – though not from immaturity. The palate is big, full of vanilla, mixed roasted nuts, and rye – both spicy and floral – underneath the whole thing. The finish has pineapple, earthy oak, tobacco, and lots of grain notes. The grain notes, in fact, are very present in quite raw form throughout the bourbon – it has more of a broad and flavorful grain profile than many Kentucky bourbons (similar to other Wild Turkey products) – perhaps a product of the low percent off the still. Cinnamon, rye, and pumperknickel linger on the finish.

I think this is my favorite Wild Turkey, limited editions excluded. It’s a brand I expect could grow on me, if I drank it more.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, at $38.