Wild Turkey Master’s Keep One, $175
The back story
Wild Turkey keeps getting wilder.
The beloved bourbon brand, whose roots go back to the 19th Century, has followed the path of many spirits makers in recent years by offering special bottlings of one kind or another. In other words, while you can still buy a bottle of Wild Turkey 101, the “base variant” bourbon of the brand, you can also opt for Wild Turkey Rye 101. Or Wild Turkey Rare Breed Rye. Or…well, you get the point.
But perhaps the most sought-after of Wild Turkeys is the brand’s Master’s Keep line. Officials with Wild Turkey, which is part of the Campari America spirits conglomerate, say the concept for the limited-edition offering was to give to Eddie Russell, one of the revered distillers behind the brand along with his father (and spirits-industry icon) Jimmy, a “free rein” to “create the products he had long wanted to do.” As it turns out, Eddie had some barrels squirreled away with such a project in mind and the first Master’s Keep, a 17-year-old whiskey, came out in 2015.
Master’s Keep One is the sixth release in the line. It blends barrels of different ages — the brand says it combines “Jimmy’s love of mid-aged bourbons (eight to 10 years) with Eddie’s passion for complex characteristics that come with bourbons aged longer.” But another key step is that the blended whiskey is matured yet again using new oak barrels that are “specially toasted and charred.” (The “toasting” technique is one that whiskey makers are embracing of late.)
With a run of approximately 15,000 bottles, Master’s Keep One is proving a hot seller: Some retailers are charging more than $500 for the whiskey, which equates to more than three times the suggested retail price. Overall, Wild Turkey, like many American whiskey brands, is benefiting from the bourbon and rye boom of recent years. Brand officials say Wild Turkey enjoyed at least a 26% annual gain though the middle of 2021.
What we think about it
Yes, you’ll pay more for a limited-edition bottling. But sometimes, you get what you pay for. Master’s Keep One is indeed quite a masterful — and sumptuous — bourbon, with plenty going on in each sip. You’ll pick up notes of butterscotch, caramel and maybe a hint of chocolate, but it all goes down incredibly smoothly. This is very much a whiskey to savor.
How to enjoy it
Just enjoy this neat — whiskey this good is worth sipping on its own.