This spring I visited eight American whiskey distilleries, including Wild Turkey.
The Wild Turkey brand has been around a while, but the current distillery is just three years old, having moved across the street from the old one. It's clean, modern, and spacious.
Wild Turkey uses all non-GMO grains in their bourbon and rye, but they don't tell us their specific mashbill. Despite having several products (Russell's Reserve, Rare Breed, etc.) there is just one mashbill for their bourbon, and another one for their ryes.
They ferment the grains for three days before distillation.
The bourbon is distilled up to 115 proof in the 48-foot tall column still, and then up to 125 proof in the doubler, which acts like a pot still.
In column distillation, there are actually heads and tails, but they only appear when you first turn on the still (heads) and when you turn it off (tails). However, you can just add these back into the column when you start it up again, so there really is no middle cut from the column still.
The rickhouses for Wild Turkey are 7 storeys tall, and they have a total inventory of about 480,000 barrels. The barrels have a #4 char.
Wild Turkey was recently purchased by Campari. Previously it was owned by Pernod-Ricard, and in the deal of the sale Pernod-Ricard still gets to buy 90% of their used barrels for the next 10 years. I'm guessing all those barrels go to Jameson.
They have just released Wild Turkey 81 Rye. It is 81 proof. They have a 101 proof rye, but it was sold out already for the year back in April.
Visiting Wild Turkey
Free tours are available, and visitors do get tasting samples. Visit WildTukey.com for more information.