Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit is presently one of the few standard (non-LE) “super-premium” bottles offered by Wild Turkey Distilling Co. outside of the Russell’s Reserve product line – the others being Forgiven and Rare Breed. On the surface it appears quite simply to be a single barrel version of Wild Turkey 101 – KSBW at 101 proof with no age statement. 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 but higher than Wild Turkey 101, Kentucky Spirit falls somewhere between a tasty and arguably special single barrel bourbon or maybe just a solid daily sipper. It is truly the wildcard of the Wild Turkey family. WTKS can be as good or better than RRSiB (and when that happens, it’s often amazing), or it can be much like WT 101. Based on price, it’s no doubt a gamble – but so worth it for the true Wild Turkey fan seeking out the best of barrels! 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 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 quite impressed with this particular Kentucky Spirit. While not entirely “dusty Turkey” in character, it’s much closer to older Wild Turkey profiles than modern Wild Turkey profiles. 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 certainly one of those barrels/bottles to seek out, yet being a 2009 is likely long gone from shelves (though I have been able to find bottles as old as 2011 recently, so keep the faith).

Rating:  4/5 🦃