Spirit type: Bourbon
Origin: Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, USA
Company: Austin Nichols Distiling Company
Year established: 1869
Owner: Gruppo Campari
The Collection: Wild Turkey 81, Wild Turkey 86.8, Wild Turkey 101, Wild Turkey 8 year old, Wild Turkey 12 year old
Wild Turkey is produced in a distillery originally built by the Ripy family in 1869 at Wild Turkey Hill in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Bourbon made in the distillery at that time was selected to represent Kentucky in the World’s Fair over other 400 whiskeys in 1893. The distillery was closed down during the Prohibition between 1919 and 1933.
Wild Turkey brand got its name not from the place where the distillery was built, but through an incident in 1940 when the distillery executive Thomas McCarthy went for an annual wild turkey hunt with his friends. He brought a private supply of the bourbon to enjoy with his hunting friends and the next year, the friends asked him to bring along the same “Wild Turkey” bourbon that he turned the nickname into the brand name to honour his friends’ good taste.
The distillery was later bought over by the Gould Brothers in 1952 and then in 1971, sold to Austin Nichols who was a wholesale grocer specializing in the sale of tea, coffee and spirits. Austin Nichols decided to focus on solely distributing fine wine and spirits when he purchased the distillery. Pernod Ricard then bought over the distillery in 1980 and the brand started its international exporting network. Now, Campari Gruppo owns the brand since the 2009 acquisition from Pernod Ricard.
Jimmy Russell, the master distiller in Wild Turkey, joined the distillery since year 1954. He has maintained the old-fashioned way of distilling bourbon that takes more time and money. The distinctive distilling and ageing process creates an authentic bourbon taste that is unique of Wild Turkey brand. The second distillation in a doubler gives the bourbon a smoother taste while being distilled at a lower proof than the US bourbon requirements seals the flavour in the spirit. Jimmy is now the director of the Kentucky Distillers Association and also a goodwill ambassador for the county’s most famous export.
Where to buy:
All major bars in Klang Valley and Penang
Albert Wines & Spirits Sdn Bhd
Spirit type: Bourbon