Our Craft

WE EARN OUR SHINE IN THE DARKNESS OF THE BARREL
WE EARN OUR SHINE IN THE DARKNESS OF THE BARREL

How we do, what we do — and where we do it — are equally important when it comes to making bourbon right. Our master distillers have over a century of experience making Kentucky Straight Bourbon the right way, The Wild Turkey way.

Slider
Craft building image

OUR DISTILLERY

For 75 years, we’ve been making our whiskey at the top of Wild Turkey Hill in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. It’s where spirited tradition and devotion to our craft come together to yield an unparalleled lineup of bourbon.

OUR WILD TURKEY ESSENTIALS

Mountains and rivers illustration

WATER

Our water comes from the Kentucky River and is naturally filtered through limestone, removing iron and other impurities.

Yeast and measuring cup illustration

YEAST

We’re still using our original yeast strain – proprietary to Wild Turkey – which has informed our bourbon’s signature flavor for over 60 years.

Corn Illustration

NON-GMO GRAINS

Wild Turkey is one of the few distilleries to never put a genetically modified grain in our bourbon.

Wild Turkey barrel illustration

BARRELS

Not everyone makes a big deal about char – the burn inside American White Oak barrels used to age bourbon. But only a No. 4 “alligator” char, the deepest available, can produce our bourbon’s signature amber color and bold flavor. Others might be content with a No. 1, 2 or 3 char; but it’s something we can never compromise on. And, we use No. 4 char across all of our bourbons and ryes, giving each one our distinctive flavor.

TIME

We never pour a drop of Wild Turkey until it’s aged at least five years – often six or eight or more. Of course, we only have to age it two years to call it a straight bourbon, but we’re not big fans of doing the minimum. Even our tin-clad wooden rickhouses have stood the test of time; they allow maximum interaction between wood and bourbon, and they’ve been doing it since the 1890s. When we put “Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey” on our label, it’s because our bourbon earned it.

OUR
PROCESS
Bourbon takes time, and with almost a century of combined experience, our master distillers know that better than anyone.
HANDLING AND MILLING
It starts when the master distiller selects the corn, rye and malted barley for distilling. We use only the best ingredients at the Wild Turkey Distillery. We won’t use anything but our specially grown, non-GMO grains, which are quality tested at four separate times.
MASHING AND MALTING
We use non-acidic, limestone-filtered water straight from the Kentucky River to cook the grains during this stage. The limestone filters out iron, purifying the water for a better flavor. Once the malted barley is added, we introduce our sour mash - a previously fermented mash that still contains live yeast - to start a new fermentation process.
FERMENTING
It’s the yeast that turns the starch into sugar, giving Wild Turkey its full, rich flavor. Yeast is added to the corn, rye and malted barley to create our yeast mash. Our yeast strain is unique to Wild Turkey, and a secret that is closely guarded by Jimmy and Eddie Russell.
DISTILLING
The liquid mash is pumped into a continuous still. It’s vaporized at a high temperature, turned back into liquid, and distilled all over again, creating the smoothest bourbon without sacrificing flavor.
FILLING
After distillation, the spirit is poured into American White Oak barrels with the deepest No. 4 “alligator” char. And we barrel our bourbon at a lower proof, so by the time it’s finished aging we can add less water than other whiskey makers before bottling. That allows Wild Turkey to retain the true, rich flavor and deep auburn color it acquires from the barrel.
AGING
Once the barrels are filled, they’re stored for aging. Starting at two years, we taste our bourbon annually until its fully matured. We age our whiskey longer than most distilleries, giving it the time it needs to develop its distinctive, rich flavor.
BOTTLING
Only the master distiller can decide when a barrel is mature enough for bottling. On their command, the bourbon is dumped, filtered and bottled, ready for you to enjoy.
previous arrow
next arrow
Slider

TASTING NOTES

To taste Wild Turkey from start to finish, it comes down to these four qualities.

COLOR

Bourbon’s color tells you a lot about its age. You’ll notice Wild Turkey has a deep auburn color because it’s aged longer in barrels with the deepest char.

AROMA

Breathe in the bourbon. And then add a drop of water to release more flavor notes and breathe it in again. You’ll smell undertones of deep vanilla and oak, with traces of citrus and toffee on top. As Jimmy Russell will tell you: you can smell more flavor than you’ll ever taste.

TASTE

Take a sip and breathe it in. You’ll notice the Wild Turkey 101 is rich with vanilla and caramel with notes of toffee and light smoke.

FINISH

A great bourbon lingers on the tongue. Wild Turkey is known for its long, rich, and full-bodied finish.

Wild Turkey 101 whiskey
WILD TURKEY 101 BOURBON
Kentucky Spirit whiskey bottle
KENTUCKY SPIRIT
Wild Turkey Rye whiskey in bottle
WILD TURKEY RYE
Wild Turkey Rye 101 bottle
WILD TURKEY 101 RYE
WILD TURKEY BOURBON
previous arrow
next arrow
Slider