By: David Othenin-Girard
K&L Staff Member
Whoa there. You are probably thinking, wow $130 for Wild Turkey? Seems like a pretty penny, but let's have a little context here. Wild Turkey is one of Kentucky's most rigorous distilleries in terms of quality. They have done very little to change their methodology since the legendary Jimmy Russell began working there more than 60 years ago. Yes, they've built a new gleaming distillery, but of course this particular product comes from the old wooden distillery situated in the gully several hundreds of feet below the active plant. So basically what you're getting here is a piece of history! Not only is it from a closed distillery, it's the OLDEST expression that distillery has ever released stateside. At 17 years old, this is by far the oldest bourbon on our shelves (save the Hirsch 20 yo at $3,500 a bottle). In addition, these barrels have seen a very unusual and dynamic aging regiment, being transported to various warehouses, exposed to many environments, ultimately lending incredible complexity and depth. A low cask strength and a beautiful package and on paper this stuff is a TOTAL no brainer. But, no one cares about that, right ; ) Everyone's only concern is the taste. In that arena you've got something really special as well. Not your usual knock your lights out barrel proof, because of the brick (they say stone) warehousing the proof dipped to a very low 86.8. That does not mean this whiskey is a slouch by any means. Oh no! Indeed, it stands up in the glass, showing that typical WT spice character, but with tons of additional nuance. Deep dark roasted nuts, sweet exotic herbs, and dried vanilla bean. The palate has extreme balance and shows dense caramel, complex rancio, and some tertiary stuff (leather, fresh tobacco leaf, etc.). Ultra rich and textural, while this isn't a powerhouse per say, it still provides tons of pleasure and makes up for any lack in strength with wild complexity. Considering where the market is going, no one can afford to buy old bourbon any longer, but occasionally we get lucky. A MUST BUY at this price in my book.