Wild Turkey had its roots in 1891, when Thomas Ripy founded the Old Hickory Distillery in Kentucky. However, Bourbon’s name was born during World War II, when a wholesaler on a hunting trip fell in love with this Old Hickory distillate. It was named Wild Turkey and the wholesaler began manufacturing and selling it in 1942. The wholesaler later bought the entire distillery for himself. Today, Wild Turkey belongs to the Italian Campari, which bought it in 2009.
Wild Turkey is made from corn, barley and rye. The proportion of rye is said to be quite high, causing a spicy bite familiar to the brand. According to the manufacturer, it has matured for about 5 years in heavily charred oak barrels. Wild Turkey is seldomly available in Baltic stores. It is somewhat more expensive than products from larger manufacturers. A 70 cl bottle usually costs about € 24, in Lidl it was on offer for € 16.90.
The nose of Wild Turkey is excellent. Sweet toffee, banana, vanilla. Soft but strong and a little peppery kick in the background. The taste is full-bodied and rich. Sweet corn, ripe banana, honey, oak, clove and other spices. The taste is not as sweet as might expect from the nose.
Wild Turkey has clearly more flavor than more affordable bulk products. According to the manufacturer, it is best enjoyed with ice or mixed, but I personally enjoy it also neat at room temperature. In the classic Highball (with soda water), the spiciness and a bit of ginger-like fieryness come out even better. The mash bill is very well balanced. The light sweetness of corn blends well with the bitter spiciness of rye. The slightly bitter aroma of oak is also well suitable.
Wild Turkey’s slightly more expensive price while compared to for example Jim Beam is legitimate, it’s just so much better. Wild Turkey’s core range bourbon, along with Maker’s Mark, are one of the best which can be found for sale in this part of Europe.