Before we begin here I want to strongly recommend you seek out David Jennings profile on this release as he is the Godfather of Wild Turkey enthusiasts! He was also kind enough to pass on the bottle I am sipping on for this article…so yes he’s a saint too. But if you’re still curious what this former tights wearing, professional trash talker thinks then come on along!
A (very) quick backstory - WB Saffell was a distiller in the latter 1800’s/early 1900’s in Lawrenceburg, KY who eventually ended up opening his own distillery in 1889. His sour mash bourbon became very successful even rivaling the brand of his former employer (where Safely himself was helping make that bourbon) and remained so until his death. However the brand, like so many, lost itself to Prohibition and eventually time.
Fast forward and Campari have brought back this name for a special release. Now if you didn’t already know, Campari is the parent company of Wild Turkey however you’ll notice that I did not say that this is ‘Wild Turkey: WB Saffell Edition” bourbon. The reason for this is that at the outset of this series (known as the ‘Whiskey Barons Collection’) Campari made it clear that the first two editions - Old Ripy and Bond & Lillard - would not be produced by the infamous Turkey distilling clan, the Russell’s. However for the third release, the very one in my hand right now, Campari revealed that Eddie Russell would have a hands on role in crafting this bourbon. And when a Russell gets their hands on some Kentucky bourbon…well you’re in for something that’s for sure.
So what are we in for? Let’s take a taste!
W.B. SAFFELL - KENTUCKY STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKEY
- Distilled at Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg, KY
- 107 proof / 53.5% ABV
- NAS (reportedly 6-12 yr blend)
- $50 for 375 ml
NOSE: An all encompassing wave of DEEP vanilla, leather and tobacco, caramel, pepper etc. This is one you could keep going back too. Classic ‘all day noser’
It just smells warm if that makes sense. A great fall pour to be sure!
PALATE: A mingling of vanillas and baking spice floods the mid and rear palate. Once again warmth comes to mind as the soft Kentucky hug envelopes your mouth. A little bit of dried cherry almost shows itself as things dry and the finish begins. Extremely enjoyable and a sip that begs to be thought about in addition to being enjoyed.
FINISH: On the longer side, spice dancing along most of the way. Corn and dried fruits are whats left as the last bits of the liquid swallow down or slip away.
OVERALL: This is a VERY nice pour of whiskey. It’s definitely Wild Turkey and it has a certain complexity that sets it apart from a lot of other Turkey releases. It’s on par with some of the better Russell’s picks that I’ve had and you know, if you’ve had a good one, just what I’m talking about. The $50 price tag for only a 375ml is steep essentially making this a $100 bottle if it were a standard bottle. I don’t know If i’d go $100 for this but if a full 750ml of this were available at 60-75 dollars I’d loudly recommend. As it stands, it’s just a tad high but then again it’s a limited, small production so the novelty might just be worth the price of admission…and then the whiskey ain’t too shabby either.