They say lightning never strikes the same place twice. They also say you can’t catch lightning in a bottle. Well folks, “they” must’ve never sipped Wild Turkey Kentucky Legend (affectionately known as “Donut” to most Wild Turkey enthusiasts).

This is my second time reviewing this particular release (different barrel/bottle) and I’ll have to admit – there’s just something special about a perfectly-aged, undiluted, single barrel Wild Turkey bourbon. In fact, I can’t think of another Wild Turkey release that shares all three of those attributes – especially nowadays. Sure, we have Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel – while excellent in its own way, it’s a diluted expression (at least slightly). And 2015’s Master’s Keep 17-year – while quite mature and undiluted, it’s not a single barrel bourbon.

There’s no doubt about it, Donut is a unique and special Wild Turkey expression rivaled only by … honestly, extremely few to none (in my opinion, at least).

Wild Turkey Kentucky Legend (AKA “Donut”) – NAS 118.9 proof KSBW – barrel E-19 – bottled by the Austin, Nichols Distilling Company, Lawrenceburg, KY

Tasted neat in a Glencairn after a few minutes rest …

Color: deep copper

Nose: (“dusty” & complex) rich caramel & vanilla, molasses, sweet musty oak, antique leather, orange herbal tea w/ honey, clove tobacco, fragrant floral notes, baking spice, hints of dark chocolate

Taste: (intense) BIG classic bourbon vanilla, maple syrup, chewy caramel, funky & musty oak, blood orange, fragrant tobacco, polished leather, an explosion of herbal & floral spice

Finish: (fervently robust) long, strong & flavorful – rich vanilla (somewhat “fruity”), sweet charred oak, caramel, honey-maple, cinnamon, clove, slowly diminishing floral spice

Overall: Words can barely express how much I love this Wild Turkey Expression. In my opinion, it really doesn’t get much better than WT Kentucky Legend. Sure, it’s single barrel (some will be better than others) but I’ve yet to be unimpressed. It’s as if you taken all the wonderfully rich dusty notes of 1980’s-1990’s WT 101 8-year and cranked them to 11. It’s also somewhat similar to early Rare Breed releases, but without the distracting heat and youthful spice that sometimes cuts through that blend.

So how does this compare to the last Donut I reviewed? Well, it’s no side-by-side comparison, but I think I like this 118.9 bottle a wee bit more. That said, I’d happily take either. To sum it up, this Wild Turkey Kentucky Legend has complexity, balance, intense undiluted flavor, and loads of classic dusty Wild Turkey character. It’s everything I love about old Wild Turkey … and as if you’re sipping it straight from the barrel.

Rating:  5/5 🦃

Photo courtesy D. Shew (2017)