Wild Turkey is finally opening up their rickhouses for a barrel selection program. The timeframe is unclear, but it sounds like they are close to opening their doors to bars, restaurants and liquor stores around the country.
The overarching theme of barrel selection in Kentucky over the past two years has been a shrinking number of brands with long wait periods to get your bottles. The fact that Wild Turkey is starting this program now in the middle of huge demand for similar programs is a great sign for everyone involved.
The two brands you will see available will be Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Bourbon and Kentucky Spirit. I might be inclined to dip into the savings account if Rare Breed was available, or even a cask strength version of either, but as of now, both options will be bottled in the ballpark of the standard proofs.
Russell’s Reserve is a 10 year, 90 proof small batch that sells for $35, and Kentucky Spirit is a 8 year, 6 month to 9 year, 6 month single barrel that comes at 101 proof for $50. Since you are only looking at a difference in months between the two brands, the 11 proof points and $15 difference per bottle will likely be the determining factors for most prospective buyers.
Wild Turkey has confirmed that you can select your own barrels at the Wild Turkey Distillery, or have Jimmy or Eddie Russell select a barrel for you. It is unclear whether or not a sample by mail system is in place to pick your barrel from home, but I imagine that is in the works. Without it, it is not much different then the standard offerings which are already selected by the distillery.