When it comes to bourbon, Wild Turkey is dear to me. The standard 101 is the house bourbon in my bar because it's a hell of a workhorse as both a daily sipper and a cocktail base. Combine that with the fact that I can almost always find it no matter where I am and it just keeps growing on me with each passing year. Then there's Russell's Reserve Single Barrel which I would say next to Four Roses Single Barrel store selections is the best bourbon you can regularly purchase today. Yet despite winning with those great products, Wild Turkey has really shit the bed in the special release department over the last few years. Diamond was such a flop that I can still find it stinking up shelves nearly 3 years after its release. Before that there was American Spirit, Tribute, and Tradition, all of which I found many years after their release and am glad I never sunk my money into. Things did take a bit of a turn for the better last year with the 17 year Master's Keep which I enjoyed but I have a hard time recommending it based on price. Even better was the Russell's Reserve 1998 which is undoubtable the best recent Wild Turkey I've ever had but at $250 MSRP, that was a big pass for me as well.
So now we have the second release under the Wild Turkey Master's Keep label, this time dubbed "Decades". This one comes in at a higher proof and states it is aged 10-20 years which coincidentally is a violation of TTB regulations since it doesn't list the percentages but the ineptitude of the TTB is a topic for another day. The upped proof and blended aspect read on paper like this has the potential to be one of the better Wild Turkey releases but they've let us down before so I'm proceeding with caution.
Aged 10-20 years
Bottle No. 50782
$170 (MSRP is more like $150)
Nose: Lots of typical bourbon sweet notes of burnt caramel and vanilla. The oak influence is pretty strong. It smells like a much older aged Wild Turkey 101 which is a great thing.
Taste: Lots of typical bourbon wood sugars, a strong oak backbone, and a big heap of baking spices. I love the bold spicy profile of Wild Turkey and this has that in droves, especially in the finish. The slightly higher proof is undoubtably contributing to that spice tingle but it's far from overly hot and I dare say the perfect amount of heat. The mouthfeel is decent; not as lush as some older dusty Wild Turkey I've had but it's no slouch. This tastes somewhere between a cross of a hyper aged 101 and the best Russell's Reserve Single Barrel you'll ever have.
Thoughts: This is an exemplary bourbon, especially if you are a fan of Wild Turkey. The oak influence is very strong without being overly woody so it has a lot of depth. The classic bourbon sweet notes are very present as is that hallmark Turkey spice note making for a wonderful balance of sweet, spice, and oak. I have a hard time saying that any bourbon is worth a $150 retail cost these days but of the first Master's Keep, Russell's Reserve 1998, and this, I would say that Decades is easily the best value of the three. While that price is hard to swallow, there's something to be said about the fact that this was not hard for me to obtain and if I want another one I can drive to a store right now and grab another. Given the price, I'm not going to do that but I don't regret having gone after this once.
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.