Latest Wild Turkey Master's Keep Goes The Rye Whiskey Direction - The Whiskey Wash

Latest Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Goes The Rye Whiskey Direction

By Nino Marchetti / June 25, 2019

The Wild Turkey Master’s Keep series, which has now become something of a yearly higher end offering for this Kentucky distillery, has traditionally had a very bourbon-centric focus. Bourbon is very much on the minds of co-master distillers and father-son Jimmy and Eddie Russell but, for Eddie Russell’s son Bruce Russell, it is rye whiskey that he really likes. And thus a rye whiskey focus does the fourth Master’s Keep release take.

The new Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye, according to those behind it, is the result of Bruce Russell’s appreciation for rye, rooted in his work as a Wild Turkey brand ambassador. It is also the result of a growing fondness for this American whiskey category in general, which has helped take overall rye production from 100,000 barrels in 2010 to now more than 1 million barrels, according to Impact Databank.

What you have in this expression is Eddie Russell making use of his distillery’s older stock of rye whiskeys to craft it. Whereas rye whiskeys historically have been aged for around four years, it is said, the distiller this time around “hand-picked from among his oldest number four alligator charred barrels, each with rye aged between nine and eleven years.” These were blended together to create Cornerstone Rye.

Wild Turkey Master's Keep Cornerstone Rye

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye (image via Wild Turkey)

“My son Bruce’s devotion to Rye reminded me that it’s a fundamental part of our history,” said Eddie Russell in a prepared statement. “Wild Turkey was one of the few distilleries that remained loyal to crafting Rye even as it fell from favor for decades. Cornerstone Rye celebrates our continued commitment to the grain that’s been such a cornerstone of the distillery.”

As it stands now plans call for Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye to be a limited edition release, with only 15,000 being made available to purchase for around $175 per 750 ml bottle. Limited official tasting notes suggest that, on the palate, “Cornerstone Rye delivers notes of warm vanilla, black pepper and toasted Rye, followed by a cascade of honey and baked apple. At 109 proof (54.5 alc. by volume), the finish is bold, crisp and clean, with lingering notes of sweet spice and oak.”