Wild Turkey Tradition
14 years old; 101 proof
Wild Turkey Tradition has the most impressive packaging I’ve ever seen. It comes in a large, rectangular wooden box (see image below). You have to push in buttons on the side to release the lid, which lifts up to reveal a handsome glass-and metal bottle nestled in the box’s gold-flecked base. The only thing missing is a choir singing. Of course, all the frills in the world don’t matter if the juice doesn’t measure up. Does it? Read on.
Aroma: Vanilla, brown sugar, slight floral note; fresh, light oak.
Taste: An immediate explosion of flavor powered by the Wild Turkey signature 101 proof that quickly and smoothly coats the entire palate. This is no “Kickin’ Chicken”; it continues to bloom with flavors of vanilla, maple syrup and baking spices (nutmeg, cinnamon). Very well balanced, with a nice, long finish.
Verdict: Press materials say master distiller Jimmy Russell aged this bourbon in the “sweet spot” of the oldest warehouses. Whatever he did, it worked. Bourbons aged more than about 8 years often pick up harsh tannins from the oak, but at 14 years old, this has taken on only the best of the flavors that wood can bring to whiskey. It is remarkably balanced. Many bourbons fire on only part of the tongue, but this kept all of my tastebuds happily engaged. My new Tradition will be to bring out this bourbon to toast special events or achievements. And once it’s gone, I will pour something else into the bottle so I can keep using this crazy cool box.