Wild Turkey bourbon is special, in any form or iteration.
It’s consistently one of my favorites, even at $150 a bottle, as in the case of its Master Keep series.
In 2015 Wild Turkey released a 17-year-old, 86.8-proof bourbon, the first in that series, packed with flavors of vanilla, oak and caramel with an underlying burn on the back end that belies its relatively low proof.
In celebrating his 35th anniversary with Wild Turkey — following in the footsteps of his legendary father, Jimmy Russell — Eddie Russell is releasing Master’s Keep Decades.
“For Master’s Keep Decades, I went all out and used some of the rarest and most precious barrels in our stocks,” Eddie Russell said in a news release. “The final product is a whiskey with the finesse and deep character of older bourbon, anchored by the bold, balanced, and vibrant backbone of younger bourbon. I have to say, this is a whiskey I truly love and I’ll be holding a few bottles back for my personal collection.”
Starting out much like his father, Eddie had to master every menial job in the distillery before supervising the rickhouses where the barrels aged, the release says. As he got further along in his career, his father began to pass down the knowledge he had learned from his own mentors, while instilling in Eddie the values of integrity, craftsmanship and never compromising on quality.
In 2015, Eddie became master distiller and joined Jimmy at the distillery’s helm. Today, the two Bourbon Hall of Famers work side by side as the industry’s only active father and son master distiller duo. The pair has nearly 100 years’ combined experience making bourbon.
“With the same sense of humility, humor and passion for perfection as his father,” the release says, “Eddie continues to influence the ever-expanding whiskey industry and bring new products to market, including Wild Turkey Bourbon (formerly Wild Turkey Bourbon 81), Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary, Wild Turkey Master’s Keep and now, Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades.
“When Eddie started working at the distillery, I didn’t make it easy for him,” Jimmy Russell says.” I didn’t want people to think I was giving him special treatment, so I made him do a lot of hard, thankless work to earn everyone’s respect,” recalled Master Distiller Jimmy Russell. “Watching him step into his own, earn the admiration of his peers and create some of the best whiskies I’ve ever tasted has been the most fulfilling experience a father could ask for.”
Made from a blend of whiskies aged 10 to 20 years, this 104-proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon has a nose of oak and caramel. It delivers beautifully intricate notes of butterscotch, dried fruit, chocolate, and smoke, and lingers with a smooth, sweet, and spicy finish. Available nationally and at the Wild Turkey Visitor Center in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades will cost $150 for a limited time.