WILD TURKEY® LAUNCHES MASTER’S KEEP UNFORGOTTEN – INSPIRED BY A DECADE-OLD MISTAKE
It’s that time of year…Wild Turkey hunting season! I am–of course–referring to whiskey releasing from the Wild Turkey Distillery. Today the brand announced their latest Master’s Keep: Unforgotten. Whiskey fans will likely remember Wild Turkey Forgiven, a product born of an accident on the barrel dumping line over ten years ago. This year’s Master’s Keep is set to pay homage to that release but with some older whiskey in the blend. Let’s have a look at the press release, and then share some thoughts.
Master’s Keep Unforgotten is a high proof, extra-aged variation of Wild Turkey Forgiven, a limited-edition whiskey blend originally released in 2010
LAWRENCEBURG, KY (September 28, 2022) — Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Unforgotten, the newest release in the annual limited-edition series, was inspired by a fortuitous and unexpected co-mingling of young rye and mature bourbon released more than a decade ago. Master Distiller Eddie Russell has resurrected the memory of that release, Wild Turkey Forgiven, with the release of Master’s Keep Unforgotten, a high proof, extra-aged variation of the harmonious blend of straight bourbon and rye whiskies. The unconventional and complex liquid serves as a testimony to Eddie’s experience and the legacy of Wild Turkey as one of the few Kentucky distilleries that have remained dedicated to the art of making rye whiskey, alongside its renowned bourbons.
The idea to marry straight bourbon and rye whiskies of Wild Turkey Distilling Co. was born in 2010 when a crew member accidentally mixed a batch of young rye with a barrel of mature bourbon. Upon tasting the co-mingled whiskeys, Master Distiller Eddie Russell realized he had something very special on his hands. Rather than discarding the serendipitous mistake, the Distillery celebrated it, bottling the whiskey for a limited time, and fittingly naming it Forgiven.
The award-winning Master’s Keep series was first launched in 2015 with Master’s Keep 17 Year and was inspired by Eddie Russell’s desire to push the boundaries of traditional Wild Turkey bourbon making, by experimenting with aging techniques and finishes. At 105 proof, Master’s Keep Unforgotten is made from some of the oldest rye ever released by Wild Turkey and is characterized by unmistakable notes of fresh fruit – flavors rarely exhibited in such mature liquid. The extra aging time in rye casks honors the storied history of American rye production, while offering a distinct experience that is sure to surprise and delight.
“Twelve years ago, I tasted the result of the distillery mishap that would become Wild Turkey Forgiven and was amazed. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted before, and I knew we had stumbled upon something special”
Eddie Russell, Master Distiller
“Twelve years ago, I tasted the result of the distillery mishap that would become Wild Turkey Forgiven and was amazed. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted before, and I knew we had stumbled upon something special,” says Wild Turkey’s Master Distiller Eddie Russell. “Master’s Keep Unforgotten pays homage to this happy accident, perfected with a secondary rye barrel aging in our pre-prohibition Rickhouse B – the favorite of my father, Master Distiller Jimmy Russell.”
Staying true to the spirit and distilling traditions that have defined Wild Turkey for the last 80 years, Unforgotten honors the storied history of American rye production through a bourbon lens. On the nose, the magnificent marriage of 13-year-old bourbon and 8- & 9-year-old rye is fruit-forward with notes of caramel and oak. On the palate, the flavor profile consists of a swirl of caramel, dried fruit, and sweet oak – complemented by notes of dried fruit, honey, black pepper, and baking spice from the 8- and 9-year-old ryes on the finish.
With a suggested retail price of $200, Master’s Keep Unforgotten will be available for a limited time at select retailers. For more information, please visit www.wildturkey.com.
About Wild Turkey
The distillery for Wild Turkey Bourbon is located in Kentucky, situated on a deep limestone shelf on the Kentucky River. The shelf acts as a natural filter and provides the distillery with crystal clear water, vital to making such a high-quality product. Wild Turkey features the legendary father and son Master Distilling team of Jimmy and Eddie Russell, who have over 100 years of collective experience working at the Wild Turkey distillery.
The famous Wild Turkey brand name first came about back in 1940 when distillery executive Thomas McCarthey took a few warehouse samples on a Wild Turkey hunting trip with a group of friends. The following year, his friends asked him for “some of that Wild Turkey whiskey” and the brand was born.
Wild Turkey is distilled and put into new oak barrels at a much lower ABV than most bourbons. This results in a much richer flavor, as less is cooked out during the production process. Ageing in the highest quality new American oak barrels with the heaviest char available (the Number 4 “alligator” char), imparts a smooth flavor and deep amber color to the whiskey. The barrels are filled at the distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Website: wildturkey.com.
About Campari Group
Campari Group is a major player in the global spirits industry, with a portfolio of over 50 premium and super premium brands, spreading across Global, Regional and Local priorities. Global Priorities, the Group’s key focus, include Aperol, Appleton Estate, Campari, SKYY, Wild Turkey and Grand Marnier.
The Group was founded in 1860 and today is the sixth-largest player worldwide in the premium spirits industry. It has a global distribution reach, trading in over 190 nations around the world with leading positions in Europe and the Americas.
The Group’s growth strategy aims to combine organic growth through strong brand building and external growth via selective acquisitions of brands and businesses.
Headquartered in Sesto San Giovanni, Italy, Campari Group owns 22 plants worldwide and has its own distribution network in 23 countries. The Group employs approximately 4,000 people.
The shares of the parent company, Davide Campari-Milano N.V. (Reuters CPRI.MI – Bloomberg CPR IM), have been listed on the Italian Stock Exchange since 2001.
Jay and I reviewed the previous Wild Turkey Master’s Keep, titled “One” on our YouTube Channel, and while it was a good-tasting product, it felt a bit underwhelming as something labeled “Master’s Keep”. I have come to expect these releases to largely showcase the absolute best product the Wild Turkey Distillery can create, especially leveraging the massive experience of both Jimmy and Eddie Russell.
Will this year’s Master’s Keep pick up where Forgiven left off, and showcase some truly remarkable flavors? Stay tuned for the review. For now, thanks for checking out this whiskey news. Cheers!
I got into bourbon for the flavor and experiences associated with it. As I found more bourbon I enjoyed, the need to dive deeper into the history, brands, and technical side of things converted me into a total bourbon geek.