I picked up this bottle the weekend after it’s initial release from the Wild Turkey gift shop, which I believe was May of this year. Once I got it home I nipped away at it from time to time, but eventually it made it’s way to the back of the cabinet and started to collect dust. A recent conversation with Edwin Vargas led to me sending a sample to Cleveland and pouring out another glass for myself.
Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary is a blend of 13 and 16 year old bourbon to commemorate Jimmy Russell’s 60th anniversary in the business, selected by Jimmy’s son and Associate Distiller, Eddie Russell.
This is a whiskey with character right from the introduction. The wood notes are dry and subtle; very reminiscent of spent hickory sticks, or perhaps that’s my childhood growing up through olfactory memory? Perhaps not.
Imagine the combination of wood pallets lying stationary in the sun and other elements for too long, combined with the fraying exposed beams supporting the facade of an old barn. Dark and faded. Toasting comes through. Stressed, but strong.
What an interesting character. Caramel arrives with perfume-like notes of lemon and citrus. The more time this spends swirling in my glass, the sweeter it gets.
Then the palate. Dry. I don’t typically drink much Wild Turkey as I find it a little too dry and spicy (but I do love it in a heavy-poured cocktail), and this is very familiar. Of course this is much more refined and sophisticated, but it’s still too familiar.
Herbal and, well, no not quite that, Earthy is what I’m looking for.
The finish is fairly abrupt, but clean. The initial dry wood notes from the bouquet reemerge here, but they don’t linger for long. The tongue is almost immediately relieved of all duties of carrying flavor and weight. If you’ve had a sip of water within thirty seconds of drinking, you may miss it completely.
As time begins to pass, I’m left wondering if I’ve just finished mowing a field of extremely tall grass in late summer.
This is a very well put-together bourbon that doesn’t jump out in one direction. It’s well-rounded with a unique character that I respect and enjoy, but I can’t bring myself to completely fall in love with it.
The price doesn’t help it’s case much, either. I have immense respect for Jimmy and and feel privileged to own this bottle, but at $125 I’m hesitant to recommend it to most friends. That’s what we’re going for here, right?
This is definitely a whiskey I’ll reserve for particular occasions. The next time I’m bundled up next to a fire outside, I’ll reach for this. That sounds nice.