Review: Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Triumph Rye

Review: Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Triumph Rye

There’s a pretty simple sales pitch for this latest Master’s Keep release: At 10 years old, it’s the oldest age-stated rye whiskey that Wild Turkey has ever released. During a Zoom-based tasting, Eddie Russell guided a handful of journalists through a quick history of the Wild Turkey distillery, his own personal taste profile, the reason why you don’t see a lot of old rye on the market (because no one wanted it, basically), and the impetus behind the upsurge in rye today (thank bartenders for that).

All of that was prelude of course for a tasting of Triumph, a barrel pick of 10- to 12-year-old ryes that Russell says marks the “perfect” spot for the whiskey. By 14 years of age, he says the barrel really dominates the experience and bitterness starts to detract from the grassy rye character that is endemic to a good rye.

There’s plenty of barrel influence on the nose here, a layer of char that tempers the grassy greenery that is otherwise prominent aromatically. Drying with a slight barnyard note of hay bales and saddle leather, the nose has an austerity that you rarely see in the world of rye, which normally gravitates to peppery pungency over everything else. Here, the rye grain is balanced by the barrel — without becoming particularly sweet, a nifty trick.

The palate finds an impressive balance not often seen in the world of American rye. Spicy and peppery up top, then silky with notes of caramel and vanilla — so immersive and creamy you might think you’re drinking a bourbon. That’s probably intentional given Wild Turkey’s love of the corn-based whiskey, and as the experience shifts into notes of baked apples, butterscotch, and sweetened breakfast cereal. It’s actually a bit too fruity on the back end for me, reminding me of some older Canadian ryes, though it has a certain holiday charm that feels tailor-made for spice-laden cocktails, toddies, and the like.

If anything, it’s a fun diversion from the parade of bourbons that Wild Turkey has been cranking out — as delightful as those have been.

104 proof.

A- / $275

Wild Turkey Master's Keep Triumph Rye




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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