Gibsons Pure Rye Whiskey 14 Summers Old Aged In Wood 1912 – 1925


SPIRIT: Whiskey

VOLUME: 750ml

ABV/PROOF: 50/100

AGE: 14 years

Released in 2005, Wild Turkey Tribute stands out as much for its origin story as it does for the quality and age of its liquid. 

It began with an odd request from Pernod-Ricard, which owned Wild Turkey at the time. The company asked Jimmy Russell to select several exemplary barrels for a special limited edition – but didn’t tell Russell what it was for. He assumed the bourbon was destined for a release to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Austin, Nichols & Co., which would take place in 2005. He zeroed in on some 15-year-old bourbon drawn from barrels resting on lower rickhouse floors, which he and his team then batched and bottled. To his astonishment, the whiskey was actually for him, a tribute – hence the name – to his impressive 50 years of service (1954-2004).

Tribute remains Wild Turkey’s only one-off release bottled in two formats: a 101-proof domestic offering, in a modern-day Russell’s Reserve-style bottle, and a 110-proof export edition in the classic Kentucky Spirit “fantail” glass. Each release sports unique packaging, with the domestic version housed in a custom tube and the export within a rectangular box. With the exception of proof, the whiskey is virtually the same – both of exceptional quality with near-equivalent desirability.

At the time of Tribute’s release, folks at Pernod-Ricard figured that Russell would retire soon, and that the bottling would serve as an ideal celebration of his tenure. But just as Russell was surprised to receive a tribute bottling, Pernod-Ricard was equally surprised – and elated – to learn that the man wasn’t going anywhere. In fact, Jimmy Russell can still be found doing what he does best at Wild Turkey: making phenomenal bourbon and sharing stories of days gone by to all who visit.

Release: Wild Turkey Tribute (2005)

Misc.: “Distilled by the Austin, Nichols Distilling Co., Lawrenceburg, KY.” 

Other items of note: Wild Turkey Tribute domestic bottles feature a bottle number (XXXX of 5500), a parchment paper insert, and a small gold-colored medallion adorning its neck. Export bottles are labeled with an alpha-numeric batch number (XX-XXXX), as well as a bottle number (XXXX). While the export iteration is of a similar glass design to the more commonly found “fantail” Kentucky Spirit (1994-2018), it showcases custom Tribute labels and a unique gold-colored stopper.

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