When Wild Turkey brought in Matthew McConaughey as Creative Director a couple of years ago, I was immediately intrigued. Unlike the role Mila Kunis plays form Jim Beam, I had high hopes that McConaughey would bring more to the picture than just commercials, billboards, and magazine adds. Don’t get me wrong…they’re great commercials, but they don’t do a whole lot in terms of making me want to drink more Jim Beam. Last month’s press release for Wild Turkey Longbranch made my hopes a reality.
Longbranch is a collaboration between McConaughey and Master Distiller Eddie Russell. It is said to be inspired by the connections that the two both have to Kentucky and Texas — McConaughey’s parent’s met at the University of Kentucky, while Eddie Russell’s youngest son now lives in Austin, Texas. Longbranch is an eight-year-old straight Kentucky bourbon whiskey made from Wild Turkey’s sole bourbon mash bill. What sets the new offering apart, however, is the double charcoal filtering process – first using charcoal made with American White Oak, and then again with Texas Mesquite charcoal. The resulting product is a classic Wild Turkey offering that’s a little less rough around the edges and perhaps a little more approachable for those new to bourbon.
“Our goal was to make a straight bourbon whiskey with a soft sweetness that was still unmistakably Wild Turkey. The result was a bourbon that we both truly enjoy drinking neat, and look forward to sharing with others.” – Eddie Russell
- ABV: 43%, 86 Proof
- Age: 8 years per press release (NAS on the bottle)
- Company/Distillery: Campari / Wild Turkey
- Mash Bill: 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% malted barley
- Price: $ 35-40 / 750 mL
Appearance: Golden Copper
Nose: Rye spiciness upfront, Clove, Caramel and Brown Sugar, just a little bit of Nutmeg
Taste: Caramel sweetness, Rye spiciness, Clove and a bit of black pepper, a little bit of oak on the back end
Finish: Slightly drying oak, with a good amount of Caramel and Vanilla sweetness all the way to the end
Overall: Longbranch is a welcome addition to the Wild Turkey portfolio. As a lower proof whiskey, it’s significantly better than the current 81 proof bottling. It offers the signature Wild Turkey spiciness with a good amount of complexity, without being too overbearing for someone new to bourbon. The official MSRP is $39.99, which I would say is just on the edge of overpriced, but I’ve seen it as low as $33 and it’s definitely a no-brainer at that point. McConaughey and Wild Turkey really did a fantastic job here – it’s everything they described it as. Nothing more, nothing less. When browsing through my home bar collection, it’s usually somewhat difficult to find anything under 100 proof. Longbranch may make that a little easier, as this will definitely be a bottle I keep on hand. Whether it be a pour at your favorite bourbon bar or a bottle from your local honey hole, Longbranch is a great one to take a chance on.