Drink Magazine

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Review

By Josh Peters @TheWhiskeyJug

Wild Turkey Master's Keep Review

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep is a 17 year old Wild Turkey (oldest ever released to the USA) bottled at 86.8 proof which, surprisingly enough, is cask strength for these barrels. When I was in Kentucky a few weeks ago, visiting the Wild Turkey distillery, I tasted this with Eddie & Jimmy (and then drank more of it later that night with them as well) and during the tasting Eddie explained why it was such a low ABV. It’s all about the long strange journey these barrels went on before being chosen for bottling.

The barrels used to create the Wild Turkey Master’s Keep were filled in 1996, but after a short stint in the WT warehouses they were moved, due to a lack of space at the distillery, to a brick warehouse at the old Stone Castle Distillery down the way from WT. During this time Eddie kept an eye on them and every 6 months he tasted them, noticing a slightly different character emerging which he attributed to the brick warehouse. Brick warehouses don’t get as hot (less water evaporation) or circulate air as well as Wild Turkey’s wood and metal sided ones, Stone Castle (Old Crow warehouse) is also a bit lower in elevation and close to the river. In 2003 he moved the barrels due to water damage in the warehouse.

That 2003 move landed the barrels in another brick warehouse on the same property a bit higher in elevation, but still cooler and less circulated than WT’s. In 2010 Eddie was finally able to move them all back to the Wild Turkey property thanks to the new warehouse that was built on the property. Some of the whiskey was used for other bottlings over the years, but a bunch of them were held onto for a future project which became this, the Master’s Keep. The most a-typical, but still delicious, expression of Wild Turkey to-date.

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Info

Region: Kentucky, USA

Distiller: Wild Turkey
Cask: New charred oak
Age: 17 years
ABV: 43.4%

Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

Price: $150

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Review

EYE
Dark caramel

NOSE
Thick rich caramel, vanilla and spice with a hefty layer of wood. A nice bit of toasted grains and nuts (hazel & macadamia) and dark fruit leather follow through along with a light touch of oily herbals.

PALATE
Dark fruit, spice, vanilla and caramel lead the way across the palate followed by milder notes of wood, toasted nuts and a light bit of astringency.

FINISH
Long spicy finish laden with notes of wood, caramel and dark sweets.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
This whiskey has a fantastic balance, a thick round body and a nice warm silken texture.

OVERALL
Wild Turkey Master’s Keep is not only a delicious bourbon, but a study in aging. It doesn’t taste exactly like other Wild Turkey. It carries something with it that’s a bit different, but wonderful at the same time. It’s aromatic and flavorful with a great bit of that Wild Turkey spice, but it’s morphed a bit in it’s overall character and while some of it could be just age, it’s different enough that I can’t help but feel like the different storage locations also affected the end product – making it a unique and lovely expression of Wild Turkey.

SCORE: 91/100

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Review
Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Review
Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Review
Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Review
Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Review
Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Review
Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Review
Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Review

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