We literally stumbled across this barrel as we walked the rickhouse, trying to avoid converging with a large tour group passing through the dusty ricks. Complexity abounds and your palate is rewarded with a cavalcade of flavor. Hints of dried fruit, bananas Foster, and crème brulee lead the charge, backed by touches of oak spice, barrel char and a whiff of toasted coconut. A truly remarkable whiskey.
Another historic American whiskey producer, Wild Turkey has its roots in the Old Hickory Distillery founded by Thomas Ripy 1891, and a wholesaler founded by Austin Nichols in 1855. Following Prohibition, the Ripy family rebuilt the distillery and began selling its bourbon to wholesalers who bottled under their own labels. Austin Nichols was one of these wholesalers, and they started bottling “Wild Turkey” in 1942. [Fun fact: Legend has it the brand name “Wild Turkey” stems from an Austin Nichols executive bringing sample bottles of the bourbon on a turkey hunt in 1940 and it being so popular among his friends they began asking him for “that wild turkey bourbon.”] In 1971 Austin Nichols purchased the old Ripy family distillery outright and re-christened it “Wild Turkey Distillery.” In 1954 a young distiller, local boy Jimmy Russell, started his career with Wild Turkey and would usher the distillery through the next sixty years with a steady hand. He trusted in the process of producing the finest quality spirits they could at Wild Turkey, and his dedication to the craft helped keep the bourbon business afloat at a time when there was great doubt for its future. He is succeeded by his son, Eddie, whose 36 years at the distillery would be considered a feat of great magnitude if his old man wasn’t still going strong 63 years in. The “Decades” bottling in your shipment this month is one of Eddie’s finest yet, and we look forward to the next rare release from this icon.