Kentucky Spirit is Wild Turkey's premium bottling; their top of the line. It's 101 proof. Like a small handful of other premium bourbons, Kentucky Spirit is a single barrel whiskey, meaning the stuff in the bottle is a product of one barrel - not a blend of several barrels. As an added touch, the neck label displays the handwritten date when the bourbon was bottled, the barrel number from which it was born, and the warehouse and rick where it was aged.
WTKS comes in a nifty bottle, whose scalloped shoulders twinkle in the light. The color is pale orangy-brown. When sniffing spirits as high in alcohol content as Kentucky Spirit, one has to take care not to inhale too deeply and risk numbing too many scent receptors. A few careful nosings immediately reveals a thick caramel with an underside of woody spice, oily leather, and cherry candy. It's full and juicy, luscious and warm. Mouthfeel is thick but not syprupy. Kentucky Spirit's taste is centered around the charred barrel it was aged in. I was surprised that the sweetness in the nose was subdued in the taste. The woody spiciness comes though with gusto, and a dry grain note is present. On the edges you can find pleasant hints of the cherry candy. In all, it is peppery and lively, but not as complex as I would have guessed.
The finish is long. Long. Long. It is astringent and nutty, with a burn that starts at the back of your throat and flares to the front and sides of your tongue. You're well aware of its proof after a swallow. And in what may be its most intriguing characteristic, about a full minute after you swallow and the burn dissapates, you're left with a ripe fruitiness; a cognac note that sends you on your way with a smile.
Kentucky Spirit is a bourbon that you have to be in the mood to drink if you want to enjoy it to the full extent. While I may be more inclined to reach for Wild Turkey 101 more frequently, that doesn't mean Kentucky Spirit should be dismissed. You don't have to wait for a special occassion to pour yourself a dram of WTKS, because when you do, it will be a special occassion in and of itself.