Feeling some deja vu? You’re not crazy. There was indeed already a Master’s Keep 17 Years Old expression from Wild Turkey, which released back in 2015. In fact, that release was the first of the Master’s Keep line altogether.
Now the 17 year old version is back — as Master’s Keep release #5 — the difference here being that this release is Bottled in Bond — the second ever bonded release from the distillery after American Spirit. (The original 17 year old was bottled at 86.8 proof.) There’s no particular production information here, but at this point it’s safe to presume that this is a barrel pick from Turkey’s warehouses, drawn from a single production season in 2003.
Let’s give it a try.
Fans of Wild Turkey will find plenty of familiar character from the start: A nose of fresh grain, tanned leather, and a smattering of dried fruits. There’s a touch of mothball here, and a dense and enduring earthiness that’s tough to shake. Compared to the 2015 Master’s Keep, it’s a lot more savory and less fruity-forward and bright — which comes across as a bit of a surprise.
On the tongue, the fruit is more distinct than the nose would indicate, though a gingerbread and butterscotch note tend to dominate dominate, with some strawberry jam and brown butter notes lingering underneath. The finish is sweet and rather woody, a bit rustic though not overly so. That said, after a considerable and heroic effort in putting the two whiskeys side by side over the course of an evening, I have to say I prefer the 2015 bottling over the bonded version, at least just a little.
100 proof. Reviewed: Batch #1.