Saturday, November 1, 2014

Review #14 - Wild Turkey Sherry Signature 10 Year

Whenever I travel to a new city in Europe I always go out of my way to track down a local liquor shop or two. These shops are typically located off the beaten path and far away from the tourist zones. Finding the shops are half the fun, the other is that you never know what you may happen upon. 

In January of 2014 I travelled to Athens, Greece and like many other places that I visit one of the objectives was to locate a whiskey shop and see what they may have hiding on the shelves or in the backroom. After about an hour of travelling around the city I eventually stumbled upon the shop I was seeking out and upon entering was I struck as to how tiny the place was. The shop is split into two levels with a glass spiraling staircase that leads up to where most of the Scotch and other whiskey was kept. 

Like many shops in Europe there is not much of an American whiskey selection and most of the selection of spirits are Scotch whisky. I looked over the Scotch selection like I always do and then proceeded to see what they may have for bourbon or rye. Sitting in the very corner on the top shelf of this shop was a bottle of bourbon that I had never seen before in my life so I immediately knew I had to pick it up: Wild Turkey Sherry Signature.

I have not had much luck in my research on this particular whiskey. It seems that about 10 years ago in 2004-2005 that it was available in Europe and primarily in duty free shops. Overall the discussion of the quality of the whiskey itself tended to be on the negative and as it was stated in one bourbon forum that it was the "brainchild of some VP in marketing". From my perspective I think this is a great bourbon. The best I can figure is that the bourbon market was a completely different animal 10 years ago and possibly this was an attempt by Wild Turkey to make some end roads in the European market that is heavily dominated by Scotch drinkers. Blending a bourbon with oloroso sherry and adding an age statement of 10 years may have been their attempt at luring Scotch drinkers to cross the bridge into the bourbon arena. But that is just speculation on my part.

The back label states:
"Wild Turkey Sherry Signature is born from a process that begins with a select batch of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. It's initially matured for 10 years in heavily charred, white oak barrels stored in the Kentucky hills. It then undergoes a second maturation in Spanish sherry casks where a sweet, mellow flavor is extracted from the wood. In the final stage, Oloroso Sherry is added to ensure a perfectly balanced flavor resulting in a rich, full taste that can only come from Wild Turkey".


Whiskey Type - Bourbon - Finished in Sherry Casks, Enhanced with Oloroso Sherry

Age - 10 years

Mashbill - Unknown

Alcohol By Volume (ABV) - 43.0% (86 proof)

Dark raisin, red grapes and plums
Cedar wood
Black Cherries
Light maple syrup
Citrus mango

Cinnamon spice
Blackberry jam
Dried fruit
Toasted oak
Candied nuts (walnut)
Subtle wood smoke

Sherry Signature has a thin viscous mouthfeel that is short to medium in length. The finish is very dessert like with a dry, fruity and nutty oak like flavor.

I've been sitting with this bottle for almost 10 months now periodically sipping it from time to time. This whiskey has really grown on me and I very much enjoy it the more and more I revisit the bottle. 

Truly unique in its delivery I think that this bourbon may have been a little ahead of its time and the current market is just now starting to catch up with it in terms of the prevalence of "finished" bourbons. That would be my only explanation as to the poor reviews from 10 years ago. 

I happen to love port and sherry finished Scotch so I appreciate the layering between the spiciness of good aged Wild Turkey and the fruity sweetness that the Oloroso sherry brings the overall flavor. 

My only complaint with this bourbon is that it is bottled at 43% ABV which is what I believe contributes to the relative thinness on the mouthfeel. With the bourbon boom in full swing it would be nice if Wild Turkey would give this another shot for the American market but maybe this time release it at a higher proof. That being said I think this is a great unique bourbon and worth a pick up if you happen to stumble upon it randomly.

4.0 out of 5

0 - hot dog water - nothing redeeming
1 - one dimensional - not complex and can be flat in areas
2 - entry level whiskey -  a few highlights for a good value
3 - daily sipper - solid, well made product that is always enjoyed.
4 - big whiskey - complex layered flavors - amazing balance
5 - huge, exceptional, unique, one of a kind