Kentucky Spirit is one of three super-premium bottles offered by Wild Turkey outside of the Russell’s Reserve product line (the others being Forgiven and Rare Breed). On the surface it appears to simply be a single-barrel version of Wild Turkey 101 (non-aged-stated KSBW at 101 proof). However, unlike most Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel bottles, you are given the date bottled, as well as barrel, warehouse, and rick identifiers.

Typically priced less than Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon but higher than Wild Turkey 101, Kentucky Spirit falls somewhere between a tasty (and arguably special) single-barrel bourbon, or just a solid daily sipper. It’s truly the wildcard of the Wild Turkey family. Kentucky Spirit can be as good or better than Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel (and when that happens, it’s often amazing), or it can be very much like Wild Turkey 101. Based on price alone it’s no doubt a gamble, but so worth it for the true Wild Turkey fan seeking the best. On to the tasting …

Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit – KSBW at 101 proof – no age stated (rumored at least eight years) – bottled 5/12/2009 from barrel #74, warehouse F, rick #16 – distilled by the Austin, Nichols Distilling Company, Lawrenceburg, KY

Tasted neat in a Glencairn after a few minutes rest …

Color: rich copper (a shade darker than modern WT 101)

Nose: rich vanilla, caramel, honey, oak, mellow rickhouse funk, baking spice, leather, floral perfume, orange zest

Taste: (surprisingly soft texture) honey, vanilla, caramel, pepper, sweet musty oak, baking spice, floral perfume, orange zest

Finish: satisfyingly long – rich vanilla, sweet oak & waves of spice

Overall: I’ll have to say, I’m certainly impressed with this Kentucky Spirit. While not entirely dusty Turkey in character, it’s much closer to an older Wild Turkey profile than a modern Wild Turkey profile. For example – I’d say it has some of the creamy vanilla of the early-1990’s 101/8, yet the citrus spice of the late-1990’s 101. And this pour definitely tastes at least eight years in age. (I’d argue higher if I had more to sample and compare.) It’s one of those bottles to seek out, though being a 2009 release it’s likely long gone from shelves (Side note: I’ve been able to find bottles as old as 2011 recently, so keep the faith).

Rating:  4/5 🦃