Back in May, we covered the forthcoming release of Russell’s Reserve 1998, the 17- year old whiskey crafted by Master Distillers Jimmy Russell and his son Eddie. That special batch won’t be released until October of this year, but in the meantime, the Russell boys have unveiled another limited edition 17-year old whiskey for the world to enjoy.
Wild Turkey Master’s Keep is an aged bourbon that the Russells are releasing under the more widely known Wild Turkey label. However, this is more than a premium bourbon: Master’s Keep is a complex bourbon that has taken a long journey to market.
Its origin came in 1997 when the Russells faced a surplus of bourbon and a shortage of warehouse space. Eddie Russell enlisted a fellow distiller for help storing the whiskey. The catch? The bourbon would be kept in a stone warehouse, which would alter the aging process. But Eddie decided to take the risk and, after 17 years, was pleasantly surprised by the result.
At 86.8 proof (43.4% alcohol) Master’s Keep is lower in proof than the standard aged bourbon. It is also lighter in color. It is a more delicate whiskey than the Russells typically release.
In order to capture the experience, we give you our own step-by-step impressions while taking our first taste of Master’s Keep.
The uncorking: Upon releasing the cork, your nose is hit with a sweet, vanilla scent that becomes (dare we say it) almost floral. Is this some kind of liquid dessert or is it bourbon?
The pour: Out of the bottle, the bourbon flows in a light, goldenrod pour. In the glass it takes on a fully amber hue. All right, this definitely looks like the work of the Russells.
The smell in the glass: The sweetness is noticeable, but not as strong. The scent is alcoholic, but it’s enticing. And with a deeper inhale, the fruit notes are still there at the back of the glass.
The taste: Upon first sip, the lower proof is evident. But the flavors still pop and slowly move throughout your mouth. There’s cream at the tip of the tongue, but further back there is a warm spice that spreads into the finish, which is certainly alcoholic, but smooth. Yes, this whiskey is smooth. Another sip? Sure! Damn, this bourbon is smooth.
There you have it. We’ve done the hard work of tasting the whiskey for you and giving you the full play-by-play commentary. Now you just have to do the easy part: checking out a bottle for yourself, so you can find out if the Wild Turkey Master’s Keep is indeed as smooth as we say it is.