First Impression: Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades

The brand new offering from the Wild Turkey Master’s Keep series has landed in Australia, just in time for the holiday season and I was generously given one to taste.

Wild Turkey Master Distiller Mr. Eddie Russell debuted the Master’s Keep series after joining the helm alongside his father, the legendary Mr. Jimmy Russell. I had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy and Eddie last year when they were touring Australia, it was then when Eddie brought along his first expression as the Master Distiller for Wild Turkey.

The first Master’s Keep was of course aged 17 years. The Decades, however, carries a label that states that the bourbon inside has been aged for a period of 10 to 20 years; and at 52%, it is a big jump from the 43.4% 17 year old.

At the first instance, there are notes of eucalyptus and forest pines on the nose; with time the more traditional notes of brown sugar and vanilla grain become more apparent. The bright fruity notes from the previous release has subsided in the current rendition, with the emphasis placed more on the gentle mahogany note, it certainly feels more mature despite the shedding of an impression age statement for bourbon. It takes on a heavier tone when it gets rested for a while longer, chopped tobacco and suede leather channeling the earthiness across the red apple sweetness beneath; with notes of Texas barbecue marinade and that vanilla sauce that goes with bread pudding contributing to that overall heaviness.

The bourbon delivers a hot spicy hit at first, but once those ginger, chilli and cinnamon ease off, there are many a sweet thing happening; baked red apple crumble and cinnamon scrolls, liquor soaked orange slices and poached  dark cherries.. flavours normally associated with a Russell bourbon have come back all of a sudden.

The juiciness of things though has been well injected with woody tannins from American oak casks that have been treated with a proper charring, and that seems to rope in the flavours to deliver a dry oaky finish, akin to a post-cigar mouthfeel. For fans of massive woodiness, this certainly delivers.

Thank you Wild Turkey Australia for sending me the wonderful Master’s Keep Decades as an early Christmas present, it is much appreciated! I can’t wait to make some special mint julep for friends over the holidays, just perfect for festivities under this scorching Australian summer

[52%・10 to 20 Years・Batch 0001・Limited Release]

-Nicholas