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Whiskey of the Week: Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Bourbon

A terroir experiment yields powerfully good results…

The 17-year-old, limited-edition Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Bourbon ($150) is proof that barrel location is an important aspect of terroir. In 1996, Eddie Russell, son of Wild Turkey’s master distiller Jimmy Russell (and now a master distiller alongside his father) decided to move barrels of a recently distilled spirit from Wild Turkey’s wooden warehouses to a brick warehouse along the river, in spite of his father telling him the whiskey would age differently. Noticing rust on the barrel hoops after a few years, Eddie moved the whiskey back to the Wild Turkey warehouses. But when the time came for bottling, Jimmy Russell was proven right, for the bourbon’s taste profile had altered—all to the better. In addition to Wild Turkey’s signature vanilla and caramel undertones, it was brimming with candied citrus and a touch of smoke, and the proof had dropped to 86.8 percent. Non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength, this is a rare, one-of-a-kind bird. (wildturkeybourbon.com)

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