I’ll have to admit, I’m a pushover for single barrel Wild Turkey whiskey.  Be it bourbon or rye, Wild Turkey or Russell’s Reserve, count me in.  Dusty, classic, modern, private select, whatever … here, take my money (please).  Now, that doesn’t mean I’m always completely satisfied.  Regretful?  Never.  Disappointed?  Occasionally.  It really just depends on the expression, and in some cases, when it was released.  Whereas pretty much any Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel (regardless of label, date, etc.) is consistent in profile/value, Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit can be somewhat hit or miss.  I’ve discussed this several times before, so no need beating a dead Turkey.  In general, the older WTKS bottles have a classic (sometimes dusty) complexity, while the relatively modern ones are often closer in profile to current NAS WT 101.  I’m not saying modern Kentucky Spirit isn’t a delicious pour.  I’m just saying that at present there’s greater profile/value in older bottles over newer bottles at retail price.

Thanks to an associate’s lucky find on a recent bottle hunt, I have the pleasure of enjoying this 2006 Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit.  This bottle features a dark wood stopper with an older full-color “bird in profile” label.  In 2007, Wild Turkey opted for a lighter wood stopper and a redesigned label with less color.  The glass bottle itself and the basic label info (aside from the unique barrel identifiers) remained the same and are still in use today.  But those are just aesthetics.  The real question is (of course) – how does this 2006 WTKS taste in comparison to other mid-2000’s WT expressions?  Based on experience my guess is pretty darn delicious, but there’s only one way to know for sure!

Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit – KSBW at 101 proof – no age stated (rumored at least eight years) – bottled 11/1/2006 from barrel #126, warehouse F, rick #8 – distilled by the Austin, Nichols Distilling Company, Lawrenceburg, KY

Tasted neat in a Glencairn after a few minutes rest …

Color:  rosy copper

Nose:  (dusty & classic) honey-maple, molasses, rich vanilla, musty & funky oak, brown sugar, sweet herbs, mineral notes, clove, tobacco, hints of floral perfume

Taste:  (slight astringency) honey-maple, vanilla bean, sweet musty oak, toffee, orange peel, herbal & floral notes, peppery spice, cinnamon, clove, leather

Finish:  long & flavorful – honey-maple, gingerbread, vanilla, musty oak, clove, pepper, herbal spice

Overall:  Maybe it’s just my personal preference, but I’ve yet to hit a disappointing Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit bottled prior to 2010.  Not one.  This 2006 is another shining example of the quality bourbon whiskey coming from Wild Turkey at a time when too many folks were going crazy over high-end vodkas.  There’s plenty of dusty notes here – so much so that one might even think they’re sipping WT 101 from the 1990’s.  I especially like the gingerbread note this one carries on the finish, as it makes up for a slight astringency experienced on the palate.  In fact, the astringency is really the only negative to this particular WTKS.  Luckily, it’s not overwhelming and does improve with air (e.g. additional rest time in the glass).  Other than that, this Kentucky Spirit showcases ideal maturity and dusty complexity (not to mention an amazing value at retail price).  It’s an excellent and enjoyable whiskey with a easily forgivable (and minor) flaw.

Rating:  4/5 🦃