Wild Turkey is a brand of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey that is known for its bold flavor and rich history. One of the key factors that contributes to the unique taste of Wild Turkey is the way in which it is aged in barrels. In this article, we will take a closer look at the process of barrel aging for Wild Turkey, and how it affects the flavor of this iconic American whiskey.
The aging of Wild Turkey begins with the selection of the barrels themselves. The distillery uses only new, American white oak barrels that have been charred on the inside. The charring process creates a layer of char on the inside of the barrel, which helps to filter out impurities and add flavor to the whiskey. The barrels are then filled with the freshly distilled whiskey, which is clear in color and has a high alcohol content.
The barrels are then placed in the distillery's warehouses to age. Wild Turkey ages its bourbon for a minimum of four years, although some batches are aged for much longer. During this time, the whiskey undergoes a complex process of maturation, as it absorbs flavors from the wood of the barrel and interacts with the air and other environmental factors in the warehouse.
One of the key factors that affects the flavor of Wild Turkey is the temperature in the warehouse. The distillery uses a system of temperature-controlled warehouses that ensure that the barrels are exposed to a consistent temperature throughout the aging process. This helps to create a more uniform flavor profile and ensures that the whiskey does not become too harsh or bitter.
As the whiskey ages, it also undergoes a process of evaporation, known as the "angel's share." This occurs as the alcohol in the whiskey evaporates and escapes through the pores of the barrel. The amount of angel's share varies depending on the temperature and humidity of the warehouse, as well as the age of the whiskey. Wild Turkey typically loses around 5% of its volume to the angel's share each year, which contributes to its rich and concentrated flavor.
Once the whiskey has reached its desired age, it is removed from the barrel and bottled. Wild Turkey is typically bottled at a high proof, which helps to preserve the bold flavors and aromas that have developed during the aging process. The result is a whiskey that is rich and complex, with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak.
In conclusion, the barrel aging process is a crucial factor in the production of Wild Turkey. From the selection of the barrels to the controlled temperature in the warehouses, every aspect of the process is carefully designed to create a whiskey with a bold and distinctive flavor. The next time you raise a glass of Wild Turkey, take a moment to appreciate the years of aging and craftsmanship that have gone into creating this iconic American spirit.