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Wild Turkey 13 Year Distiller’s Reserve Bourbon Review: A Satisfying Sip for Whiskey Lovers

thewhiskylady - 2023-05-22
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Wild Turkey 13 Year Distiller's Reserve Bourbon Review: A Satisfying Sip for Whiskey Lovers

I just had the pleasure of trying Wild Turkey 13 Year Distiller’s Reserve Bourbon, a highly-regarded whiskey that has garnered quite a reputation among enthusiasts. This particular bourbon has an impressive 13-year age statement, making it a relatively rare release that piques the interest of many whiskey fans. In this article, I’ll share my tasting notes and experiences with this unique spirit.

Initially introduced in Japan and some minor export markets, Wild Turkey 13 Year Distiller’s Reserve has quickly made a name for itself. For this review, I made sure to take my time, allowing the bourbon to unfold and reveal its complex blend of rich flavors and aromas.

Wild Turkey 13 Year Distiller's Reserve Bourbon Review: A Satisfying Sip for Whiskey Loversphoto source: www.caskers.com

Wild Turkey 13 Year Distiller’s Reserve Bourbon Overview

Product History

I absolutely love the Wild Turkey 13 Year Distiller’s Reserve Bourbon because it is a rare and unique whiskey coming from the well-known distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Wild Turkey had a previous expression called 101/12 which was discontinued; after that, the 13-year Distiller’s Reserve took its place in Japan and other export markets. Master Distiller Eddie Russell played a critical role in creating this beautiful bourbon which has a distinct and complex profile and is aged for a non-standard 13 years.

Price Range

When it comes to the price range, the Wild Turkey 13 Year Distiller’s Reserve Bourbon is a bit more on the expensive side, but it’s well justified due to its exclusivity. Generally, it is available in export markets and the Japanese market, which makes it harder to find in the U.S., and hence, this elevates the price. It is bottled at 91 proof instead of the classic 101 proof that’s standard for Wild Turkey. The price can range from $100 to $300, depending on the location.

Breaking down some of the characteristics of this amazing bourbon:

  • Age statement: 13 years old
  • Mash bill: Consistent with the Wild Turkey’s classic formula
  • Non-chill filtered: No, it is chill-filtered, maintaining the texture and flavors

This bourbon is certainly impressive, with a fantastic combination of toasted caramel, vanilla, charred oak, leather, and other notes. It is a treat for whiskey lovers who appreciate the craft and rich nature of Kentucky bourbons like the Master’s Keep series or the Russell’s Reserve 13 Year.

Tasting Notes


Upon pouring myself a glass of Wild Turkey 13 Year Distiller’s Reserve Bourbon, I noticed a delightful blend of caramel, vanilla, and roasted oak at first sniff. A second inhalation revealed hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and dried orange peel. The bourbon’s aroma seemed to have the depth and complexity I’d expect from a whiskey with a 13-year age statement.


As I took my first sip, the flavors delivered on the promises made by the aroma. The palate began with rich caramel and melted chocolate, followed by bursts of rye spice and cherry. The 45.5% ABV contributed to a surprisingly powerful body, comparable to a 55% ABV bourbon. Additional flavors that emerged include maple syrup, brown sugar, and mature oak, which blend harmoniously with the fruity notes of apple and peach.

Typical Wild Turkey characteristics also shone through, like the corn sweetness, nutmeg, and clove spices. The lower proof of 91 seemed to work well with the bourbon’s profile, allowing more delicate flavors such as citrus, anise, and leather to develop at the end of each sip.


The finish of the Wild Turkey 13 Year Distiller’s Reserve was pleasantly smooth and long-lasting. Maple syrup, rye spice, and toasted caramel lingered on my palate, accompanied by gentle traces of tobacco and barrel proof. This made me feel truly satisfied with my glass, as the flavors were coherent and well-rounded.


Taking all factors into account, I would give Wild Turkey 13 Year Distiller’s Reserve Bourbon a score of 83 out of 100. It brings together classic Wild Turkey attributes and the qualities expected from a bourbon of this age, resulting in a genuinely satisfying tasting experience. From the aroma to the finish, the bourbon delivers depth, complexity, and a delightful array of flavors that will likely appeal to many bourbon enthusiasts.

Mixing and Pairing

Best Mixers

Best Mixersphoto source: Shutterstock.com

I’ve found that it pairs well with a variety of mixers. Its rich flavors – caramel, roasted oak, clove, chocolate, vanilla, dried orange peel, cinnamon, and dried apples – make it versatile for mixing. Here are a few mixers I find work best with this bourbon:

  • Ginger ale: Enhances the bourbon’s natural spiciness, adding a refreshing fizz.
  • Soda water: Allows the bourbon’s flavors to take center stage while diluting the spirit a bit.
  • Orange juice or fresh citrus: Complements the dried orange peel and cinnamon notes.

Cocktail Suggestions

Cocktail Suggestionsphoto source: Shutterstock.com

Trying out different cocktails is always fun, and here are some suggestions to highlight its unique taste profile:

  1. Old Fashioned: Muddle sugar, bitters, and a splash of water, then add the bourbon and ice. Garnish with an orange peel and cherry to emphasize the citrus notes.
  2. Whiskey Sour: Mix the bourbon with lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white. The citrus and frothy texture will play well with the whiskey’s flavor profile.
  3. Manhattan: Combine the bourbon with sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters. This classic cocktail highlights the rye and corn elements present in the whiskey.

Food Pairings

Food Pairingsphoto source: Shutterstock.com

When it comes to food pairings, it effortlessly complements a variety of dishes. Some of the best food pairings I’ve experienced with this luxurious bourbon include:

  • Steak: The robust flavors of the bourbon work beautifully with a well-prepared steak, enhancing the meat’s natural richness.
  • Chocolate desserts: The delicate chocolate notes in the bourbon create a harmonious pairing with dark chocolate or chocolate-based desserts.
  • Cheese plate: A variety of cheeses, including bold blue cheese or a creamy brie, can be a delightful match for the whiskey’s complex notes.

Remember to savor and appreciate the intricacies of Wild Turkey 13 Year Distiller’s Reserve Bourbon, whether you’re mixing it in a cocktail or enjoying it alongside a tasty meal.


In my experience, the Wild Turkey 13 Year Distiller’s Reserve Bourbon is a genuinely premium product, thanks to its flavorful profile and extended aging process. I particularly enjoyed the big burst of caramel, roasted oak, clove, chocolate, vanilla, dried orange peel, cinnamon, dried apple, and faint hints of dried dark berries and licorice. This bourbon delivers complexity and depth of flavor, something any whiskey enthusiast can appreciate.

Considering its age, it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of wood spices present, such as clove and nutmeg, that add to its distinct character. Despite having an ABV of 45.5%, it carries the heft of a 55% ABV bourbon. While its 91 proof may not seem too exciting for long-time Wild Turkey fans, its well-rounded profile speaks for itself once tasted.

It is essential to note that Wild Turkey has released other 13-year-old bourbons, such as the Father and Son 13 Year Bourbon, which is also an export-only release. However, I believe that the Distiller’s Reserve Bourbon holds its own, showcasing Wild Turkey’s dedication to producing high-quality, well-aged bourbons.

As a whiskey enthusiast, I enjoyed the Wild Turkey 13 Year Distiller’s Reserve Bourbon and found its robust flavors and smooth finish quite satisfying. It is a testament to the distillery’s dedication to crafting top-notch, premium bourbons. Whether you’re a Wild Turkey fan or simply looking to explore well-aged bourbons, I would recommend giving this one a try.

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