Master’s Keep is a range of limited-release whiskeys offered each year by Wild Turkey Distilling Company, a division of Campari Group. Now in its seventh year, it was initially developed by Master Distiller Eddie Russell in 2015.
Six yearly releases have been bourbon whiskeys, while one has been a rye whiskey. There was no release in 2016. Recently, I sat down with Eddie Russell to talk about Master’s Keep Voyage, his latest release.
Master’s Keep Voyage is a 10-year-old bourbon that has been finished for approximately eight weeks in a rum cask from Appleton Estate in Santa Cruz, Jamaica, which previously held 14 YO pot still rum. Appleton, one of Jamaica’s most storied rum producers, is also owned by Campari Group. This expression was the first rum cask finish in Wild Turkey’s history.
The project was a collaboration between Russell and Dr. Joy Spence, the renowned Master Blender of Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum. The two producers have over 80 years of combined experience crafting fine spirits. According to Russell:
Every year, we look forward to the release of Master’s Keep as an opportunity to rethink what our bourbon can be. Creating Master’s Keep Voyage in collaboration with Dr. Joy Spence was a real privilege, and I think our shared passion for telling a story through our spirits comes through in this one-of-a-kind whiskey.
With Voyage, we set out to develop a spirit that allows the notes of the rum and bourbon to work in harmony. By aging Eddie’s hand-selected batch of 10-year-old bourbon in the finest casks we have at Appleton Estate, we were able to achieve a new level of flavor that gives whiskey and bourbon lovers a new way to enjoy their favorite drinks.
Voyage is the third Master’s Keep expression that underwent a cask finish. The other two were Master’s Keep Revival (2018), which experienced a finish in a cask that previously held 20 YO Oloroso Sherry, and Master’s Keep One (2021), which underwent a cask finish in toasted oak barrels.
The Sherry cask finish added fruitiness and sweetness and enhanced the nuttiness typical of Wild Turkey. The toasted oak barrel finish imparted a rich and smooth flavor, extenuating the vanilla, toasted oak, and caramel notes characteristic of Wild Turkey.
All six bourbon releases were based on the Wild Turkey mash bill of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley and were matured in barrels with a #4 char. The exception was Master’s Keep Cornerstone (2019), a rye whisky with a mash bill of 52% rye, 36% corn, and 12% malted rye.
For more information please visit https://www.wildturkeybourbon.com/en-us/