Disclaimer: A sample of Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary bourbon was provided to me by the brand. I appreciate their willingness to allow Bourbon & Banter to review the bourbon with no strings attached. Thank you.
Let’s get this out before we go any further – Jimmy Russell doesn’t care for bourbon older than 12 years.
So the fact that his son Eddie would create a tribute bourbon that contains a mingling of 12 and 16 year old bourbons may come as a surprise. Eddie says that he choose the 13 year knowing it was close enough to a 12 year that he could get away with it without Jimmy getting too upset. He then added the 16 year to give the finished product more of that Wild Turkey spice we all know and love. It also resulted in creating a truly unique – yet still familiar – Wild Turkey expression with more smoke and oak notes than you’d expect from the brand.
I had my first taste of Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary with Jimmy and Eddie a few weeks ago when I visited to celebrate the opening of their new visitor’s center and I liked it right away. I’ve always felt that Wild Turkey was underappreciated by most bourbon drinkers so it’s nice to see them come out with something new for their loyal fans to enjoy. I think they’ve got a winner on their hands if the way people were drinking it during the grand opening celebration is any indication. I even captured Fred Noe from Jim Beam enjoying a glass with Jimmy.
Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary is currently available for purchase in the Wild Turkey visitor center but should be available nationally around August. It’s considered a limited edition with 3,000 9L cases produced for the US and 5,500 globally. You better put in your request at your favorite liquor store early if you want to get your hands on a bottle.
Let’s go ahead and dive into my formal Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary bourbon review.
Bourbon Name: Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary
Age: 13-16 years
How I Drank It: Neat, in Glencairn whiskey glass.
My Nose Noticed:* Vanilla | Honey | Cedar | Spice
First Sip: Honey | Oak | Hot Spice
The Burn:** You’re immediately greeted by that familiar Wild Turkey spice but yet it’s a bit different. The addition of the 16 year old juice adds more wood to the finish making it a bit more tannic. However, everything is in perfect balance with a really nice long finish that surges back and forth with a wonderful warmth.
Neat, Splash or Rocks: No question. Drink this one neat. It’s light on the front with good spice and finish on the backside so it’s easy to drink. Adding water only served to kill the honey and vanilla notes while emphasizing the spice and throwing things out of balance. I skipped trying it on the rocks.
Share With: Wild Turkey fans will enjoy this immensely. It’s older than anything else they can get, so it’s familiar but with some extra oak to make it interesting. I think any Wild Turkey fan would be down for sharing a few glasses. It’s also easy enough to drink that those who are newer to bourbon, yet enjoy the spicier profile of Wild Turkey, can still enjoy it. The only thing that could get in the way of that enjoyment is the price and availability in your area.
Worth The Price: Suggested retail is around $125 so this might just be the most expensive bottling put out by Wild Turkey. The price is steep if you’re considering the purchase based on the merits of the juice alone. When you factor in that it’s a unique Wild Turkey bottling, due to age and that it’s celebrating Jimmy Russell’s 60th anniversary, the price is more than fair.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: If you’re a fan of Wild Turkey and Jimmy Russell, adding one of these to your bar is a no brainer. I suggest grabbing two if you can swing it so you can have one to drink now and one for down the road. I’ll be on the look out for another bottle when it gets released nationally.
*I like to let my bourbon sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I personally find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first.
**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?
I’ve been enjoying this bottle all week and everyone that’s had a glass with me likes it as well. It’s a nice expression from Wild Turkey and one that lives up to purpose of celebrating Jimmy Russell’s 60th anniversary at Wild Turkey. But let me be clear, it’s not a life-changing bourbon. A lot of people are going to see the price and immediately set their expectations way too high. For $125 your buying a very nice Wild Turkey expression that celebrates a remarkable milestone for an amazing man. Go into your purchase with this in mind and you’ll be truly happy with your purchase. Then go home, invite a few friends over and enjoy a few glasses together over some lively banter. I know Jimmy would approve.