The Wild Turkey distillery tour in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky isn't the most popular on the Bluegrass State's Bourbon Trail--that would be the Maker's Mark one--or the most-thorough--that honor goes to Woodford Reserve--but in many ways, it's the best. It's absolutely down-home, starting with a documentary narrated by a man whose 'billy drawl practically oozes with banjos and mandolins, and moves on to a walk through the warehouses and hills where ambrosia takes form.
I went on the tour this past summer, as part of my annual foray through the South's Highway 127. It was a great experience--to show how unpretentious they are, Wild Turkey even placed a barrel near the tour's entrance with a wooden turkey tail in the back and a wooden turkey head in the front--but my most-valued souvenir came rom their modest gift shop, where I bought a bottle of Wild Turkey Rare Breed.
At 108.2 proof, it's the strongest member of the Wild Turkey familia, and if you toss it down the gullet, the burn will trigger Pavlovian yammers about Molly and Tenbrooks. But after the burn dissipates (but not the tingle), you'll feel it: an impossibly rich, almost caramel aftertaste that's the result of mixing various bourbons aged anywhere from six to 12 years. Great bourbons deserve sipping anyways, and a full taste of the Rare Breed reveals all of its nuances: a bit smoky, a tad spicy, completely intoxicating. Even half a shot will get you stabby; a full shot, howling at the moon, blotto on the wonders great bourbon can create.
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