Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit Review

Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit Review

The Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit is single barrel Wild Turkey 101 that has a bit more age to it and, being a single barrel, it also means that unless you get something from the same barrel as me, you’re going to have a slightly different experience. It also means that while I rate this one a 91 the next barrel could be an 87 or even a 97. It’s like the Four Roses Single Barrels. Sure each bottle you get will be different, but they’ll all be good.

Now you might be looking at the price on this one and start thinking to yourself “Damn, I could buy 2 1/2 bottle of the regular 101 for that price” and you would be right. So what’s the difference? Well the standard 101 is a blend of 6, 7 and 8 year old bourbons which likely errs far more towards the 6 than the 8. In comparison, each barrel of Kentucky Spirit has been aged for 8.5 – 9.5 years and there is no blending. Other than the Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel, which is bottled at a higher proof, this is the closest most of us are ever going to get to experiencing what Jimmy Russell and team tastes on a daily basis.


Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit Review

Bottled On: 8-26-13
Warehouse: C
Rick: 35
Barrel: 36

ABV: 50.5%
Age: 8.5 – 9.5 years
Price: $50*
Distiller: Austin, Nichols Distilling Company
Mashbill: 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malt


Oh that fantastic Wild Turkey bourbon spice, how I adore you and here in barrel 36 from rick 35 in warehouse C you come out in a crashing monstrous wave. As the wave recedes tidal pools of dark fruit, toffee, Werther’s Original, brown sugar and cinnamon are left behind with smaller pools of wood and vanilla emerging right before being covered back up by the spice wave.

Again that marvelous spice followed by a much more prominent wood which is trailing notes of brown sugar, citrus, caramel, dark fruit, corn and a ghostly mint that seems to fade in and out between sips.

Hard to get more balanced with sweet and savory sitting in near perfect alignment and bolstered by a full body and smooth inviting texture.

Wood, brown sugar, corn, dark fruit, honey, caramel and mint all mix and mash together on a nice long slow fade.

SCORE: 91/100

This, like just about every other Wild Turkey product, is great. Though if I’m being completely honest, and we’re all friends here so why the hell not, I would rather take the $4 -$10 leap and get the Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel which is bottled at a higher proof and is non-chill filtered. Higher proof + non-chill filtering means that for only a few bucks bucks extra you’re getting a lot more bourbon for your buck. Though if you’re buying it for someone else, and they’re not a complete whiskey nerd like me, go with this because the bottle is almost as stunning as the liquid inside and looks far more impressive than the RR when on display.


*This bottle was graciously provided by Wild Turkey’s PR team for the purposes of this review

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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7 Responses to Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit Review

  1. Thanks for the review, I’ve been thinking about picking up a bottle of this and I think this helped me in deciding to do so. Quick question for you, what affect does the non-chill filtering have on the product? Is there a chilled filtering?

    • Hey Alex,

      That’s great to hear, hope you enjoy it. Chill filtering removes oils that cause a whiskey to get cloudy when it’s chilled. It’s a mostly cosmetic thing, but it also removes some of the flavor and makes the whiskey a bit thinner on the palate since the coating oils are removed. In my experience non-chill filtered whiskeys tend to be richer and bolder with a better mouthfeel. However for some whiskeys, like George Dickel, chill filtering essential to their overall character so it’s not a bad thing, just something that I wish most whiskey makers wouldn’t do.


  2. Hey Alex! Chill filtering is where the manufacturer reduces the temperature of the whiskey to around zero degrees Celsius or so to precipitate and filter out the esters, fatty acids and proteins from the whiskey that are introduced during distillation and barrel aging. My understanding is that chill filtering was started because whiskeys bottled at 46 ABV (92 proof) or less get cloudy with these precipitates when chilled (e.g. on ice or with a chilled whiskey stone) so some people believed there was something “wrong” with their whiskey when they saw it get cloudy. Purists argue that filtering these things out removes some of the flavor and so nowadays you are seeing a lot more manufacturers skipping this step, and in some cases, using it as a sales point. I personally prefer whiskeys that are uncut and unfiltered. I like knowing I am tasting it just as it came out of the barrel and can add my own water if it’s too strong. The Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit is a GREAT choice, especially if you like lots of caramel and rye-spiciness. Check out the Wild Turkey Rare Breed barrel proof also, another great pour. Cheers!

  3. Stumbled across quite the deal here.
    Local store in Indiana has 5 different store picks from 2016.
    Liquidating them at $25/ea.

    Tried their “nutty and spicy” barrel in store, very remarkable. Total dessert dram.
    Had to buy a bottle plus another less descriptive (sweeter, with a shorter finish) store pick bottle. Kentucky Spirit is a fantastic expression at $50. At $25, it can’t be beat. Prefer it over Russell’s Reserve 10, which I obtained for even less some months ago.

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