I recently decided I’d pull the trigger and buy a bottle (more accurately, a fancy box and bottle) of Wild Turkey Master’s Keep. Honestly, I think this limited edition is suffering from “shelf turd” syndrome as a result of its predecessor, Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary. Diamond Anniversary (2014) didn’t sit well with some reviewers. Factor in its price ($125 MSRP), and well, it can still be found in 2016 at retail around town (at least around my town).
So, 2015 brought Master’s Keep and an even higher LE price tag of $150 (MSRP). I think many bourbon enthusiasts decided to save their money for harder targets (BTAC, Van Winkle and the lot) or simply avoided limited editions altogether. As for the loyal Wild Turkey customer base, I’ve found that many aren’t bourbon enthusiasts at all. They’re just average working Joe’s/Jane’s dedicated to the distillery’s core expressions (mainly 101). So, I can understand why a limited edition whiskey that costs several times more than a handle of one’s personal favorite sipping bourbon may not be appealing.
Alright, I should probably move on to the actual review now. I’ve dusted off the box top, opened it up (it’s actually a very nice box and bottle design), and popped the fancy copper-top stopper (again, very nice presentation).
Wild Turkey Master’s Keep KSBW – (assuming reported WT mash bill) 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% barley – 86.8 proof – aged 17 years in multiple rickhouses & floors – batch 0001, bottle 16914
Tasted neat in a Canadian Glencairn after resting about 10 minutes …
Color: rose copper
Nose: (quite complex) caramel, musty sweet oak, toffee candy, cookie dough, buttered corn, molasses
Taste: (very nice strength for 86.8 proof) sweet oak, rye spice, vanilla extract, toffee, subtle “Wild Turkey funk”
Finish: medium – lingering spice & sweet oak (diminishes quite nicely)
Overall: I truly enjoyed this unique and special Wild Turkey release (the first, I believe, to be credited solely to Eddie Russell instead of his legendary father, Jimmy). While the nose was surely the highlight, the taste was a nice change of pace for typical Wild Turkey KSBW (and the proof was absolutely not an issue for me). The finish maintained perfect balance with the taste, but neither could quite step it up to the level of the nose. Not that I would call Master’s Keep unbalanced – it’s very much what I’d expect a 17-year-old Wild Turkey bourbon whiskey to taste like.
In closing, Master’s Keep is excellent and certainly worthy of a special release or limited edition. The price/quality value? Well, we can argue prices all day (for this and plenty of other whiskeys). As for this old and special bourbon …
Rating: 4/5 🦃