Saturday, November 19, 2016

Big And Rich - Master's Keep Decades

Wild Turkey Master's Keep Decades 
Just released and in time for Christmas is the new, improved, explosively rich Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades. This is another creation by Eddie Russell Master Distiller for Wild Turkey and only his second dedicated release to bare his name since his assertion to Master Distiller alongside his father Jimmy Russell.

Do not take this whisky for granted. It is neither just another Wild Turkey or even just a variation of the previous release Master’s Keep 17 Years Old. What we are examining here is a rare insight into how different a Wild Turkey can become given the combination of barrel management and aged spirit. Expect oak, expect spice, expect something different.

As the label suggest, ”Aged 10 to 20 years”, this is a combination of casks often already getting too old for regular Wild Turkey profiles right up to some true vintage casks. The casks are drawn only from a cross section of one warehouse. This warehouse, named the McBrayer Rickhouse, is reported to be situated in a lower elevation of the distilleries grounds adding a certain amount of stability in temperature. This stability in turn allows the barrels to age longer giving a much mellower character to the spirit. I have never been there so I really cannot say what these facts truly contribute in this case. What I do know is that the Wild Turkey grounds are rather immense leaving a lot of room for climate change from one end to the other.

master's Keep Outer packaging
Contained in a large solid double fold box the presentation is exceptional considering other whiskies around the same $200 AU price mark. The manner of opening is much to releasing a gated thoroughbred. Nestle tight in the moulded shroud it can take a little prying to release but once it is out there is little chance it will be retiring in without a good run. Top notch presentation for sure and it makes the whole experience something even more special.

The bottle itself is very different to any other Wild Turkey as the spirit is contained in heavy glass with an relief turkey spread across two sides. The entire design has been created to collect the light and highlight the spirit. I dare say once te bottle runs dry, many will become other spirit or water decanters for years to come.

As the name suggests Decades takes on couple of meanings. “Decades” clearly defines the age of various barrels barrels spreading across 2 decades of maturation. “Decades” is also in terms of Eddie Russell’s celebration of 35 years working with Wild Turkey. It is no secret Eddie likes an aged bourbon with a god whack of oak, so it is only appropriate the celebratory dram delivers just that.

Wild Turkey Masters Keep Decades Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Distiller: Wild Turkey
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 52%
Age: 10 years to 20 years
Wood: New White American Oak

Nose: Wow this is a big juicy nose with rich caramel, woody sugaresque maple wood, red cherries. In fact if I was simply nosing I would swear this was a fruit strudel. More please!

Taste: Texture is immediate as a viscous oily feel moves across the lips and tongue before big pickup of month spice surfaces and is going nowhere soon. Again with fruit strudel as brown sugars, red fruits, maple oak dominate before the huge hit of mint spice.

Finish: Wait for it. Wait. Keep waiting. No I am still waiting. Hang on almost there. Nup this is still going on. Give this a few minutes and you might just get to the finish. This is massive in character as the spice lingers for an eternity as does the brown sugar and maple syrup. Ultimately it begins to dry but rest assured you will still be tasting this in 5 minutes time.

Overall this is a cracked bourbon giving a complicated rich balance of sweetness, spice and oak. There is true excitement to be enjoyed. If I was to give a dram then a rounded 6 out of 7. I am glad I have had a chance to try this whisky as it is very different to the previous Master’s Keep release.

Priced at $200 and just being released in the past few weeks putting this limit edition right on the money for a Christmas bourbon. Certainly if you are buying for gift for family or friend be sure to make yourself available for the opening. Alternatively nab one for yourself and a layout under the tree as a personal surprise. I have seen this already hating Dan Murphy's shelves for $200 and I am sure you will be seeing it at specialist stores soon also.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was supplied a sample for review. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated.