About – Master’s Keep 17 Year Old Bottled in Bond is the 5th release in the annual Master’s Keep Series. It matches the age of the original 17 year old release, but is much different. The original 17 year spent time aging in brick warehouses and on lower floors resulting in a barrel proof release at a very low 86.6 proof. This release is much more in line with Wild Turkey’s traditional aging process and as a bottled in bond bourbon is bottled at 100 proof. Master’s Keep 17 Year Old Bottled is a limited release with only 14,400 bottles being produced and is priced at $175.
Nose – Caramel, oak, and leather are the first things I notice. The nose is very dense and has the musty funk that comes with a really well aged bourbon. As it opens up more sweetness starts to come through. It is most reminiscent of vanilla pipe tobacco. The longer I allow it to open up a very prominent black cherry note begins to dominate the nose. There is a lot going on here and it is all enjoyable.
Palate – Incredibly complex. I get something new on every sip I take. Vanilla leads the way along with the cherry from the palate, and what sounds odd to say, but buttery oak. The spice comes with a variety of black pepper, clove, and ginger. On the back palate some pear starts to come through along with the spice leading into a medium length finish that moves from pear and spice to antique leather.
Score – A+
Verdict – This is truly a masterpiece. It is a really tricky thing to age a bourbon this long and still maintain the balance that is present here. The oak plays a strong influence, as you would expect from a 17 year old bourbon, but it is still balanced out by the sweet vanilla and cherry. This is one of the most complex bourbons that I can ever recall tasting. It is a true experience, and something that you need to sit down and take your time to appreciate. Don’t second guess purchasing this bottle because of the price. It is the rare bourbon experience that stands up to a high cost of entry. A true experience to be relished.