Wild Turkey Master's Keep (Decades)
Intro: From Wild Turkey's website:
This hand-selected lot of precious and rare barrels, aged between 10 and 20 years, represents the very best of two decades of bourbon making. Master Distiller Eddie Russell's harmonious mingling of liquid results in an extraordinary enjoyable whiskey with the finesse and deep character of older bourbon, anchored by the bold, balanced, and vibrant backbone of younger bourbon.
Wild Turkey is a brand that took me a while to come around to when I got into collecting, simply because of my not-so-fond memories of drinking it recklessly in my adolescence. However, since finally giving it an honest shot, I am pleasantly surprised by the quality of their product line. I found the Master's Keep (Aged 17 Years) series in the Navy Exchange in Patuxent River, MD and liked it so much I purchased the Decades bottle soon after in Jacksonville, FL. This review is specifically for the Decades.
I poured a glass neat and immediately sampled the nose. Without letting it settle, the fumes were quite astringent and sent me recoiling with eyes clinched. From the time I typed the previous paragraph, the fumes dissipated and the nose provided a much more pleasant experience with the second attempt. Although still somewhat potent, the spiced aroma is something that took my thoughts toward scents you'd grown accustomed to around Christmas time. There is a hint of caramel and vanilla (which I almost detect in the majority of bourbon) and the nose becomes increasingly more inviting the longer it sits in open air.
The taste test was equally pleasant. As I sipped the bourbon, it was slightly hot to the lips, and tongue and immediately hit me with the spice flavor that was detected from the nose, perhaps with an added hint of pepper that wasn't apparent in the nose. Though not uncomfortable, it does not strike me as a bourbon you would hold in your mouth too long as it will begin to numb your palate. Definitely not a deal breaker, though, as the finish is very smooth and leaves you with a warm, numb, flavorful aftertaste.
Is it worth the $?
I paid right at $100 for this bottle and I am in no way regretful of that price in order to add it to my collection. It is a great bourbon but too expensive and hard to find to enjoy it as often as you could an equally mature and high quality bourbon such as Eagle Rare or Elijah Craig, which are a quarter the price. Buy 1, maybe 2, but that likely will be the end of your love affair with Master's Keep Decades.