You need a strong turkey game at this time of the year, so the launch of barrel-proof Wild Turkey Rare Breed is not a moment too soon.
This powerful whiskey, bottled at 56.4%, is the most popular barrel-proof bourbon in the US. It's made by Wild Turkey's legendary 82-year-old master distiller, Jimmy Russell, from whiskies aged six, eight and twelve years in oak.
What you get is a powerful, full-bodied bourbon, that nevertheless carries its abundant alcohol well, with some sweetness joining eucalyptus and other peppery spice, not to mention some dried stone fruit. The oak influence is very evident too, with toasty coconut and vanilla throughout. It's a chewy, satisfying spirit, and a bargain at £47.95/70cl bottle. When Thanksgiving rolls round, this will be among the whiskies we're grateful for.
'We've always liked to age our bourbons for longer than many other distillers and when it's tried like this without water, you can really see why this makes sense,' explained Jimmy's son and fellow master distiller, Eddie Russell. 'The Wild Turkey peppery, spicy characteristics burst out, but they're sweetly rounded from the years of maturation in brand new oak barrels. Hell, it's so smooth Jimmy keeps his in the freezer so he can serve it chilled without ice diluting it.'
To coincide with the launch, and inspired by the range's new packaging that landed on our shores in September, the brand has commissioned artist Julie Rhodes to illustrate 20 bars around the UK. Rhodes is responsible for the illustration on the new Wild Turkey labels too. Below are a few examples.