There are two Wild Turkey releases that share the name “Tradition” – a 14-year, 101-proof limited edition from 2009, and a non-age-stated, 101-proof export from the mid/late 1990s. They’re two completely different bourbons. This particular review covers an export Wild Turkey Tradition from 1997.

From the research I’ve gathered, this expression is potentially the same whiskey as the export Wild Turkey Kentucky Legend from the early 1990s.  The bottles and boxes are similar – both lack an age statement and are 101 proof.  Unfortunately, I don’t have an export Kentucky Legend to compare against this 1997 Tradition – possibly in the future.  On with my review …

Wild Turkey Tradition (1997 export/duty-free) – non-aged-stated, 101-proof KSBW – assumed Wild Turkey mash bill of 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% malted barley – (not labeled, yet assumed) distilled and/or bottled by the Austin, Nichols Distilling Company, Lawrenceburg, KY

Tasted neat in a Glencairn after a few minutes rest …

Color: deep amber

Nose: rye/baking spice-forward, herbal tea, vanilla, light musty oak, fresh citrus, hints of leather

Taste: vanilla extract, “cookie spice” (ginger, nutmeg, etc.), floral perfume, lemon/tangerine peel, honey, faint maple syrup, very light musty oak

Finish: medium in length & warmth – sweet & spicy with waves of light vanilla & faint oak

Overall: This is quite a different profile from typical 1990’s Wild Turkey releases. Very herbal/floral with light citrus and sweet oak. Certainly not the honey-maple, thick vanilla, and super “funk bombs” more commonly found.

In many ways this pour reminds me of Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary, though I feel Diamond is a touch more refined and balanced. Still, the 1997 export Tradition is a damn fine whiskey – especially if you prefer a lighter vanilla/citrus and herbal/floral profile.

Rating:  3.5/5 🦃