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22 Wild Turkey Whiskey Bottles, Power Ranked

Wild Turkey isn’t the oldest or most elite whiskey in the world. But it’s really f*cking good from top to bottom. Still, it’s not a monolith. Sure, Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon is likely what you think of first and foremost but the overall brand is so much more than that. In fact, there’s so much to the shingle that it can kind of be dizzying.

While Turkey 101 is a very solid Kentucky bourbon that’s a gateway for generations of whiskey drinkers, the rest of the Wild Turkey bench features a vast array of bourbons and rye whiskeys, each with unique flavor profiles. With all those expressions, there’s sure to be something that’ll speak to you (and maybe a few that won’t). To that point, it’s time to rank every single bottle of the Wild Turkey line.

For this list, I’m digging into my tasting notes and ranking the whole, current line of Wild Turkey whiskeys that you can get in the U.S. That means I’m looking at bottles labeled Wild Turkey, Rare Breed, Kentucky Spirit, Master’s Keep, Russell’s Reserve, Longbranch, and both of their honey-based whiskeys. See? I told you this whiskey brand has a deep bench! As for the international releases, I’ll save those for another day. This is about what you can get stateside — not at a duty-free shop in Frankfurt or Tokyo.

When comes to how I ranked these whiskeys, it’s all about the taste, folks. Whether you can find these bottles and what price they’ll carry in your corner of the country is not in play at all. The country’s too big and varied with disparate booze laws, taxes, distribution, and price structures to get into all of that. Still, this is about finding you the absolute best bottle of whiskey from the Wild Turkey shingle to stock on your bar cart. Hell, I’d argue that you could easily get a few of these bottles for various occasions — easy sipping, serious tasting, showing off to friends, celebration pours, gifts, mixing with Coke, and crafting some great cocktails.

Let’s get into it and rank all 22 bottles of Wild Turkey whiskey.

Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Bourbon Posts Of The Last Six Months

22. American Honey

American Honey
Campari Group

ABV: 35.5%

Average Price: $19

The Whiskey:

Jimmy Russell, Wild Turkey’s legendary Master Distiller, came up with this bottle back in 1976. The whiskey is a blend of classic Wild Turkey Bourbon and pure honey.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear sense of fresh honey on the nose with a dash of that iconic Wild Turkey spiciness, kind of like a very mild cinnamon-laced cherry lozenge. The palate is soft and sweet with deep honey vibes next to light lemon oils and a touch of orange zest next to more of that cherry/cinnamon with a sweet rock candy aura.

Bottom Line:

This is sweet. Very sweet. But it is one of the better honey liqueur whiskeys out there because it’s layered with very mild Turkey spice and cherry.

21. Wild Turkey Bourbon

Campari Group

ABV: 40.5%

Average Price: $18

The Whiskey:

This expression is Master Distiller Eddie Russell’s stamp on his dad’s, Jimmy’s, legacy. The younger Russell devised this lower-proof bourbon to be another workhorse whiskey for the mixing crowd. This is achieved by letting the 75/13/12 (corn/rye/malted barley) mashed and twice distilled juice rest in deeply charred oak for six to seven years before it’s cut down to 81 proof for bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a mix of mild winter spice, tannic oak, ripe apricot, creamy vanilla, and a thin line of salted caramel on the nose. The taste delivers and expands into peach cobbler territory with plenty of vanilla, brown sugar syrup with baking spices, and an almost smoky singed cedar edge. The end is another left turn, with a dusting of dark chocolate over the top of a honeyed underbelly as the oak, spice, and stonefruit fade away.

Bottom Line:

This is simple but direct. Overall, we’re talking about a whiskey that was built to be used to mix cocktails and highballs. Use it for that.

20. Wild Turkey Rye

Campari Group

ABV: 40.5%

Average Price: $24

The Whiskey:

This is the only other mash bill cooked at Wild Turkey’s distillery. The mash is a 51/37/12 (rye/corn/malted barley) bill that’s also twice distilled. This hot juice then rests in the same, deeply charred oak but only for four to five years. The whiskey is then cut with soft Kentucky limestone water to bring it down to an accessible 81-proof.

Tasting Notes:

Vanilla and mint apple pie come through on the nose with a dash of woody winter spices, light toffee candy, and a hint of herbal funk (think wet grass or sage). The palate opens with tart apple skins and caramel sauce with a moment of raw sourdough rye bread next to wet tobacco leaves and apple cider spiked with woody cinnamon sticks. The end has a mild warmth with a touch of sharp spearmint and green grass next to freshly cracked red pepper.

Bottom Line:

This is pretty quintessential Kentucky rye. There’s a woody spice next to orchard fruit with a light grassiness that makes this shine, albeit simply. Again, this was devised for mixing, so use this in cocktails or highballs primarily.

19. American Honey Sting

American Honey Sting
Campari Group

ABV: 35.5%

Average Price: $22

The Whiskey:

Wild Turkey’s American Honey is often lauded as the best-flavored whiskey on the market. This expression takes that well-crafted blend of Wild Turkey bourbon and honey and ups the ante by adding a dash of ghost pepper.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a sense of honey that’s bolstered by sprigs of fresh mint and fields of wildflowers on the nose. The ghost pepper lurks in the background until you take a sip and it bites at your tongue. It’s never over-powering whatsoever and the combination of bourbon vanilla, caramel, and oak with that fresh mint and honey makes for a great combination of flavors that linger on your senses.

Bottom Line:

This is a tad less sweet than the standard American Honey thanks to that chili pepper bite. This really works well in a hot toddy, especially as the weather cools. It’s also nice on a few rocks as well.

18. Wild Turkey 101 Rye

Wild Turkey 101 Rye
Campari Group

ABV: 50.5%

Average Price: $28

The Whiskey:

This is the sibling bottle to the classic Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon. Same standard rye mash bill. Same heavily charred barrels. Same six-odd years mellowing in those barrels. Same proofing down to the iconic 101 proof for bottling.

Tasting Notes:

The peppery rye spice is cut with rummy Christmas cake topped with rich vanilla ice cream next to a clear note of toasted oak on the nose. The taste leans into the spice with a rye version of the Kentucky hug, as hints of cedar, white sugar, popcorn, and charred bitterness lurk in the background. Like the bourbon, the end is long and hot, with pops of peppery spice, creamy vanilla, and charred wood. A very distant wisp of smoke acts as a button on the end.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the easier drinking whiskeys on this end of the list. There’s a lot going on but it all makes sense, especially if you’re mixing up cocktails.

17. Russell’s Reserve 6-Year-Old Rye

Russell's Reserve 6-Year Rye
Campari Group

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $36

The Whiskey:

Russell’s Reserve is where we really dive into the “good stuff” with Wild Turkey. This expression is a collaboration between Jimmy and Eddie Russell, who search through the center cut of barrels in their rickhouses for the exact right minimum-six-year-old ryes. The end results are a window into the Russells’ shared palate for the whiskey.

Tasting Notes:

This a subtle rye with hints of crusty rye bread soaked in apple honey paired with a hint of vanilla, a touch of caramel, and mild orchard fruit. The palate is all about spicy and sweet Christmas cake full of dried fruit, nuts, and spicy minced meat pie with a flutter of black pepper. The oakiness shines late as the winter spice, vanilla/caramel sweetness, and singed cedar fade away toward a touch of apple cider tobacco.

Bottom Line:

This is really nice stuff but feels way more like a Manhattan whiskey than a sipping one. That said, you can definitely drink this on the rocks. But that woody, spice, and orchard fruit profile really speaks to the wintry cocktail more than anything else. Well, that or a Sazerac.

16. Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Revival

Wild Turkey Master's Keep Revival
Campari Group

ABV: 50.5%

Average Price: $329

The Whiskey:

This whiskey was made by Eddie Russell after he found a few prime sherry casks in Jerez, Spain. The blend is a mix of 12 to 15-year-old bourbon barrels that once vatted were re-barreled into those Oloroso sherry casks for final maturation. Finally, those barrels were batched, proofed with a touch of water, and bottled as-is.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a sense of orange oils layered into an old pine plank on the nose with a spiced cherry pie drizzled with powdered sugar icing and dark powdered sugar next to a hint of meaty and almost waxy prunes. The palate has a soft vanilla pudding vibe next to grilled pineapple and peaches with a hint of passion fruit and mango skins before dates and raisins kick in with plenty of winter spice, creating a tropical cocktail vibe … almost. The end is spiced like a holiday cake — clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. — with a sense of pineapple-heavy Hawaiian dinner rolls and spiced choco-cherry tobacco leaves.

Bottom Line:

This is the one rare miss in the Master’s Keep line, in my humble opinion. It’s not overly sherried and falls more toward bright and fresh fruitiness. Just to be clear, this isn’t a bad or faulty whiskey at all. The opposite is true, it’s refined and nuanced. It’s just not quite delivering on the promise of the label (a sherry-finished bourbon), and hence it’s ranked this low.

15. Longbranch

Campari Group

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $39

The Whiskey:

A few years back, Wild Turkey brought on Matthew McConaughey to be the brand’s Creative Director and create his own whiskey. The product of that partnership was launched in 2018. The juice is a wholly unique whiskey for Wild Turkey, thanks to the Texas Mesquite charcoal filtration the hot juice goes through. The bourbon then goes into oak for eight long years before it’s proofed and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Christmas spices meet oily vanilla and subtle caramel up top. The palate adds orange oils and buttery toffee to the mix, as the edge of the spices upwards on the palate, next to a creamy vanilla pudding body. That velvet texture builds throughout, with toasted oak and cedar notes as a hint of sweet firepit smoke arrives on the long and satisfying finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a nice detour from the main Turkey line. There’s serious nuance at play in the whiskey but nothing is overdone. This whiskey also bears the hallmark of a well-rounded Turkey product in that it can be sipped slowly by the campfire or mixed into a fire cocktail and be equally enriching.

14. Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon

Screen-Shot-2021-09-07-at-9.34.36-PM.jpg
Campari Group

ABV: 50.5%

Average Price: $20

The Whiskey:

Wild Turkey 101 starts with Turkey’s classic 75/13/12 mash bill. The hot juice then spends at least six years in the cask before it’s batched and just kissed with Kentucky limestone water before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

This is a cherry bomb on the nose with deep notes of burnt orange, buttery toffee, old oak staves, and cumin-heavy taco seasoning with a hint of old leather gloves. The palate has a vanilla pudding cup vibe next to butterscotch candies, nougat, and a twinge of menthol tobacco on the mid-palate. The end of this is a classic cascade of bourbon notes: caramel, vanilla, cherry, winter spice, and light woodiness.

Bottom Line:

This has no business being as good as it is at this price point. This remains one of the best values in all of bourbon whiskey because it is versatile. You can mix it, stir it, shoot it, and pour it over some rocks and it will work every time.

13. Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Rye
Campari Group

ABV: 52%

Average Price: $70

The Whiskey:

This hand-selected single-barrel expression hits on some pretty big classic Kentucky rye notes. The whiskey for the blend is selected from the center cuts of the third through fifth floors of the Wild Turkey rickhouses. There’s no chill filtering and the expression is only slightly touched by water before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

This has a lighter nose but it’s still full of dark orchard fruits, soft vanilla pods, old oak staves with a hint of old barrel house funk, and a mix of spicy orange rind next to freshly cracked black pepper and sharp cinnamon powder. The palate leans into the cinnamon and layers it into chewy and buzzy tobacco with hints of vanilla sweetness, cherry bark woodiness, and sharp fancy root beer vibes. The end pings on that old musty rickhouse one more time as a humidor full of vanilla, cherry, and cinnamon-spiced tobacco fades towards a rich and buttery toffee with a hint of rye fennel on the very backend.

Bottom Line:

We’re squarely into the great whiskeys here. This is a very easy sipper that makes a mean Manhattan or Vieux Carre. It’s deep but fun to play with in cocktails.

12. Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon

Campari Group

ABV: 55%

Average Price: $82

The Whiskey:

This is a high water mark of what standard Wild Turkey can achieve. The Russells select the “honey barrels” (those special barrels that are as much magic as craft) from their rickhouses for single barrel bottling. The resulting whiskey is non-chill filtered but is cut down slightly to proof with that soft Kentucky water.

Tasting Notes:

Vanilla cream spiked with orange oils and sprinkled with toasted coconut mingle with spicy oak and buttery cake on the nose with an underpinning of winter spices by way of a sour mulled wine. The palate opens with easy notes of marzipan, subtle dried roses, vanilla pods, more winter spices, and singed cherry bark. The end arrives with a sense of Almond Joy next to cherry tobacco dipped in chili-infused dark chocolate with a flake of salt and pinch of cedar dust and old leather saddles.

Bottom Line:

This is another winner from Wild Turkey. There’s a great balance here that runs deep. This makes a mean cocktail or easy sipper at the end of the day.

11. Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof Rye

Campari Group

ABV: 56.1%

Average Price: $72

The Whiskey:

This rye is a blend of the great rye barrels in the Wild Turkey rickhouses. The juice is chosen from four, six, and eight-year-old barrels, blended, then bottled without chill filtration or any proofing water.

Tasting Notes:

This is a masterclass in what rye “spice” can be with subtle notes of black pepper next to Christmas spices counterpointed by pine resin dank and sweet cherry root beer. The palate brings about a velvet texture with notes of vanilla and dark chocolate cake next to stewed cherries — a very Black Forest cake vibe — before the rye sourdough bread funk and herbal essence kick in with a light firewood pitchiness. By the end, there’s a balance of all that spice, wood, resin, and subtle fruitiness that lasts on the long and sharp finish.

Bottom Line:

This is pretty essential rye whiskey for expanding your palate. It’s also super easy to drink while being one of the better cocktail base whiskeys on this list. You should be making all of your Manhattans and old fashioneds with this.

10. Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades

Wild Turkey Master's Keep Decades
Campari Group

ABV: 52%

Average Price: $439

The Whiskey:

This release from 2017 commemorates the 35th anniversary of Master Distiller Eddie Russell making whiskey at Wild Turkey. The blend is made by Russell from the rarest barrels — from 10 to 20 years old — from the famed McBrayer rickhouse. That’s a very old barrel warehouse that used to belong to the Old Joe Distillery across the tracks from the main Turkey campus today.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear sense of classic Turkey on the nose with singed orchard woods next to subtle salted caramel, stewed cherry, tart apple fritters covered in cinnamon sugar, and mellow winter spices — Saigon cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, allspice berries. The palate has a sweet opening with buttery and rich toffee next to minced meat pies, dark chocolate cut with dried chili (and maybe some garam masala), and campfire-burnt marshmallows. The ned has a vanilla white cake vibe sprinkled with orange zest and dark chocolate shavings with a hint of cherry jam underneath that lead to orange-chocolate tobacco stuffed into an old cedar box and wrapped up with ragged twine.

Bottom Line:

Look, from here on down the ranking, we’re only talking about stellar whiskey. And we’re at the edge of the top ten. This is only this low because my palate/brain/desire would reach for the bottles below before this one. This is still phenomenal whiskey. So if that flavor profile speaks to you, go for it.

9. Wild Turkey Master’s Keep 17-Year

Wild Turkey Master's Keep 17-YEar
Campari Group

ABV: 43.4%

Average Price: $499

The Whiskey:

This well-aged bourbon from Eddie Russell highlights deep and balanced Turkey bourbon flavors in every sip. For this expression, Russell hand-selects 17-year-old barrels of Turkey that “travel” between their wooden and brick rickhouses, traversing roughly 200 miles over 17 years. Those barrels are batched and then bottled as-is at a lower proof.

Tasting Notes:

There are clear and bold notes of smoldering cherry and apple bark next to oily vanilla pods, buttery and almost burnt toffee, orange orchards in full bloom, and fresh piles of pipe tobacco cut with clove and cherry on the nose. The spice kicks in with a holiday spiced cake edge that leads towards a salted caramel, bitter chocolate-covered espresso beans, and freshly chopped firewood resting in sweet black potting soil. The end is soft and luxurious with a deep musty cellar vibe that leads to old leather pouched full of dried apple and cherry tobacco leaves braided with dried wild sagebrush, cedar bark, and strips of old saddle leather with a hint of black mushrooms lurking underneath.

Bottom Line:

This is old, earthy, and musty while still holding onto that emblematic Turkey vibe. Overall, this is a well-aged sipper that might be a little too aged for the uninitiated into funky bourbons that spent nearly two decades in a centuries-old warehouse. Or not, I think it’s delicious and weird and fun.

8. Russell’s Reserve Single Rickhouse Camp Nelson C

Russell's Single Rickhouse
Campari Group

ABV: 56.2%

Average Price: $250

The Whiskey:

For this expression, the barrels were loaded into Rickhouse C in Camp Nelson (a group of warehouses on a separate campus) and left alone on the central floors (three and four of seven) for years. As the rickhouse was falling apart and it became clear it was beyond repair (nearly hundred-year-old structures tend to do that), the Russell crew started tasting whiskey to see what they could do with it. 72 barrels rose to the surface with a parallel flavor structure that became this whiskey, which was bottled completely as-is without filtration or proofing.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with soft marzipan fondant that leads to mince meat pies, brown sugar, and mild cinnamon/nutmeg/clove spice with a thin layer of powdered sugar frosting with hints of brandy butter, salted caramel, vanilla taffy, and freshly fried apple fritters. The palate is lush and silky with rich buttery toffee rolled in roasted almonds and coconut and dipped in dark and creamy chocolate sauce with plenty of orange zest and flakes of salt. The mid-palate leans into cinnamon bark, allspice berries, and freshly ground nutmeg next to tart apple pies loaded with pecans. The finish circles back around the brandy butter, rum-raisin, and powdered sugar frosting for a sweet and luxurious end.

Bottom Line:

This is dessert in a glass. It’s deeply hewn and so well balanced but definitely for the whiskey drinker with a slight sweet tooth.

7. Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof Bourbon

Campari Group

ABV: 58.4%

Average Price: $54

The Whiskey:

This is the mountaintop of what the main line of Wild Turkey can achieve (this is easily found on liquor store shelves for the most part). This is a blend of the prime barrels that are married and bottled untouched. That means no filtering and no cutting with water. This is a classic Turkey bourbon with nowhere to hide.

Tasting Notes:

This opens like a dessert table during the holidays with crème brûlée next to a big sticky toffee pudding with orange zest sprinkled over the top next to a bushel of fresh mint. The palate hits an early note of pine resin as the orange kicks up towards a bold wintry spice, soft vanilla cream, and a hint of honeyed cherry tobacco. The end keeps the winter spices front and center as a lush pound cake feeling leads to soft notes of cherry-spiced tobacco leaves folded into an old cedar box with a whisper of old vanilla pods lurking in the background.

Bottom Line:

This is another bottle that has no business being this good at this price point, making it truly one of the great value-per-dollar whiskeys on the shelf today. While it’s a very easy sipper, it also makes a killer cocktail.

6. Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit Single Barrel

Campari Group

ABV: 50.5%

Average Price: $79

The Whiskey:

Jimmy Russell hand selects eight to nine-year-old barrels from his warehouses for their individual taste and quality. Those barrels are then cut down ever-so-slightly to 101 proof and bottled one at a time with their barrel number and warehouse location right on the bottle.

Tasting Notes:

The nose draws you in with classic vibes from top to bottom thanks to rich vanilla smoothness, wintry spices, a hint of cedar, and a mix of sour cherry and tart apple with a slight lawn furniture earthiness. The palate stays very classic with old boot leather next to dry cedar bark, a layer of rich marzipan cut with orange oils and covered in dark chocolate, and a distant hint of nasturtiums suspended in fresh honey. The end finishes with a good hint of spiced cherry tobacco and old leather next to mild nuttiness, bitter chocolate, and soft vanilla cake frosted with cinnamon and cherry.

Bottom Line:

This should really be number one thanks to that price tag. This is an unbeatable single-barrel expression of whiskey (bourbon or not).

5. Wild Turkey Master’s Keep One

Wild Turkey Master's Keep One
Campari Group

ABV: 50.5%

Average Price: $304

The Whiskey:

This whiskey is a blend of Jimmy and Eddie Russells’ favorite barrels. Jimmy chose nine to 10-year-old barrels and Eddie added in 14-year-old barrels of their classic bourbon. Once batched, that whiskey was then re-barreled into new oak with a special toast and char level and then stored in a timber rickhouse called Tyrone G (as you’re starting to tell, rickhouses are very important to the nuance that makes Turkey great).

Tasting Notes:

Cinnamon-infused caramel candies mingle with creamed honey and old slices of vanilla cake with an orange-clove-chocolate frosting next to old tobacco leaves and a touch of dried chili pepper flakes on the nose. The palate opens with a creamy and lush vanilla foundation that leads to salted caramel over apple cake with a cutting ginger and cinnamon spiciness next to a light touch of dried nasturtiums. The end starts sweet and spiced with a mouthful of Hot Tamales before old cherry-choco tobacco folds into an old pine box with a hint of singed cinnamon bark and cherry wood mellow with old boot leather and broken-down lawn furniture.

Bottom Line:

This is a masterpiece.

4. Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Cornerstone

Wild Turkey Master's Keep Cornerstone
Campari Group

ABV: 54.5%

Average Price: $499

The Whiskey:

This is the first rye whiskey that Wild Turkey released for the Master’s Keep line. Eddie Russell devised this whiskey from nine to 11-year-old barrels from the prime sections of various rickhouses. Once batched, the whiskey was just proofed before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a sense of apple old-fashioned doughnuts on the nose with a cinnamon-maple glaze next to old rye bread crusts with caraway and fennel with a slight whisper of dry dill before a whisper of white pepper and dried chili starts to sneak in. Salted apple chips dipped in floral honey drive the palate toward sour mulled wine full of star anise, clove, cardamom, and mace with a dash of molasses and rum-raisin. The end leans into the woodiness of the spices with cinnamon bark and allspice berries with the faintest line of sasparilla and black licorice-laced tobacco braided with old wicker canes.

Bottom Line:

This is the height of Wild Turkey’s straight rye experience. That helped it climb the ranks significantly, sure. But this rye is one of the best you can find today. It’s everything you want it to be plus so much more. It’s a true journey in a bottle.

3. Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Unforgotten

Wild Turkey Master's Keep Cornerstone
Campari Group

ABV: 52.5%

Average Price: $225

The Whiskey:

The latest Master Keep release (from October 2022) is a whiskey born from a crew member accidentally adding some young rye into old bourbon in the batching tank. Everything came to a screeching halt. Once the whiskey was tasted, though, Eddie Rusell realized they had a happy accident on their hands and their first blend of rye and bourbon was born. Today, this blend is a mix of eight and nine-year-old rye with 13-year-old bourbon that’s then finished in a used rye barrel in Turkey’s pre-Prohibition Rickhouse B.

Tasting Notes:

The whiskey opens with a lush and vibrant fruit orchard full of bright and ripe oranges, tart apples, and sweet peaches next to roasted almonds, salted caramel, and creamed honey with a touch of hickory and pine. There’s a sense of that salted caramel sweetness on the palate that leads to mince meat pies dusted in powdered sugar and nutmeg with a hint of dark chocolate-covered espresso beans, old oak staves, and dried sage .. and maybe some spearmint. The end has a dried apricot and prunes vibe next to floral honey cut with orange oils, a twinge of marzipan, and more of that bitter dark chocolate tied to pipe tobacco, cedar boxes, and old pepper mills that are more woody than spicy.

Bottom Line:

This is just delicious. It’s funky and fresh and feels like one of the best bottles Wild Turkey has to offer.

2. Russell’s Reserve 13

Russell's Reserve 13
Campari Group

ABV: 55%

Average Price: $556

The Whiskey:

This whiskey was made by Eddie Russell to celebrate his 40th year of distilling whiskey with his dad, Jimmy Russell. The juice is a collection of a minimum of 13-year-old barrels that Eddie Russell hand-picked. Those barrels were married and then bottled as-is with no proofing or filtration.

Tasting Notes:

Sweet and dried fruits invite you on the nose as a touch of fresh, creamy, and dark Black Forest cake mingles with mild holiday spices, dried almonds, and a sense of rich pipe tobacco just kissed with sultanas. That dark chocolate and cherry fruit drive the palate as a hint of charred cedar lead towards vanilla tobacco with more of that dark chocolate and a small touch of honey, orange blossom, and a whisper of dried chili flake. That honey leads back to the warmth and spice with a thin line of cherry bark smoke lurking on the very backend with more bitter chocolate, buttery vanilla, and dark cherry all combining into chewy tobacco packed into an old pine box and wrapped up with worn leather thread.

Bottom Line:

This is a great sipping whiskey. It’s refined and deep while still feeling like a very easy-to-drink bourbon. It’s not demanding but delivers a serious flavor profile.

1. Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Bottled In Bond

Wild Turkey Master's Keep Bottled In Bond
Campari Group

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $899

The Whiskey:

This is the same whiskey as Master’s Keep 17-Year. In this case, after vatting of minimum 17-year-old barrels, the whiskey was only proofed down to 50% or 100-proof for bottling as per bottled in bond laws. The resulting whiskey is then bottled as-is.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a bold nose of spicy Christmas cakes spiked with orange oils, candied cherries, and dried apples next to vanilla pods and worn saddle leather that leads to this subtle hint of fresh cinnamon rolls with a cream cheese frosting cut with lemon and vanilla. The palate is the epitome of smoothness with a subtle warmth derived from woody winter spices — star anise, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon — that then branches toward this whisper of burnt sugars and fats from an old brisket smoker with a hint of salted red taffy and singed marshmallow next to vanilla pound cake with a hint of poppy seeds. The end has a sweet cinnamon candy flourish before smoldering wild sage and old boots arrive with a dark chocolate espresso cherry tobacco layers into an old cedar box with a hint of black dirt lurking in the distant background.

Bottom Line:

This is the culmination of it all. There’s all the nuance and depth at play here that make Turkey great while still offering a familiar and convivial — even homey — vibe. This pour is both welcoming and challenging while still feeling fresh, funky, and full of grace. Make sure to add a few drops of water to get a deep creaminess and coconut cream pie and marzipan vibe amped up toward a cherry cream soda and Martinelli’s Sparkling cider depth.

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