Wild Turkey's New Master’s Keep Decades Is One Unique Bourbon

Wild Turkey’s Master’s Keep is becoming one of the most interesting limited-edition lines in the bourbon world. With the second release, Decades, they’ve made a bourbon worth a place in any serious collection.

Master’s Keep is distiller Eddie Russell’s pet project, where he showcases things you wouldn’t normally find in the Wild Turkey and Russell whiskey portfolios. Last year Russell released the first bottle in this collection: a 17-year-old bourbon that showed a ton of oaky character. That bottle (and two more of the same since) went quickly, so, at least on our part, there was some anticipation building to see what the Russell family would do next.

The sequel went in a different direction. “For Master’s Keep Decades, I went all out and used some of the rarest and most precious barrels in our stocks,” master distiller Eddie Russell says in a press release.

Decades combines bourbons aged 10–20 years, and because of this it's a swirling cloud of competing personalities. On the one hand, you have a bourbon that is spicy and bright and seems to lead with the punch of alcohol. You can really feel it on your tongue. But there’s a shift, toward the heavy, wood-extracted character of oak. It’s syrupy and flavorful. At 104 proof it’s a bit hot, but a few drops of water really allow the seemingly at-odds whiskeys to work in concert.

The bad news is that not every palate is going to like the performance. For lovers of really old, oaky whiskey it’s going to feel slightly young, especially when the finish is still spicy, bold, and youthful, without that twentysomething refinement.

At $150 that could be seen as a disappointment. But especially for the collector of unique whiskey, this is one to add to the mix. 

Check out the bottle finder at wildturkeybourbon.com