Each year, Wild Turkey releases a handful of bottles as part of its “Master’s Keep” range. The whiskeys are always something new, and they’re highly allocated. Recent years have included the Cask Strength Cornerstone Rye, an Oloroso Cask Finish, and a 17-Year-Old Bourbon.
This year, the distilling legends Jimmy and Eddie Russell decided to release a bottled-in-bond bourbon. At 17 years old, Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Bottled in Bond is most likely the oldest BiB whiskey with product still available in stores. (The oldest I could find was a special release from Heaven Hill back in 2016 for their Parker’s Heritage Collection. It was 24 years old.)
The Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 was passed as a reaction to bootleggers adding coloring and flavoring to whiskey, specifically American whiskey. It’s a highly-regulated category. In addition to following all of the other prescribed rules for bourbon or rye, BiB whiskeys must follow an additional set of laws. They must be:
- Aged in a federally-bonded warehouse
- Aged a minimum of four years
- Bottled at exactly 100 proof (50% ABV)
- Distilled at one distillery
- Distilled in one distilling season (January-June or July-December)
On the nose, Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Bottled-in-Bond has a prominent sour aroma that leads into notes of empty barrels. Subtle cherry and mahogany follow suit, giving way to cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla. Very subtle notes of coffee and caramel round it out.
On the palate, it’s astringent and hot for 100 proof, with flavors of black pepper popcorn, caramel, and oak. It’s very drying and rich, providing all the delicious funk that I love about Wild Turkey.
This is a great bottle of bourbon, and it’s probably the best Wild Turkey product I’ve tried. If you have some whiskey money burning a hole in your pocket, and you can get a bottle for a reasonable price (the MSRP is $175, though you might have to shell out a bit more), I say go for it!
— 50% ABV