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Drink Review: Wild Turkey 81 Proof Bourbon

An 81 proof (40.5%ABV) bourbon crafted by Wild Turkey associate distiller Eddie Russell, son of master distiller Jimmy. It’s a high rye mash matured in heavily charred casks for big flavour at a more approachable ABV than the 101.

Wild Turkey Bourbon Review:

Appearance: Clear amber, with ruby hues.

Nose: Fragrant tobacco, pepper and sweet cinnamon.

Taste: Hot and spicy, hot pepper as first then some vanilla and oak. Vanilla fades as the finish comes through big and hot.

Wild Turkey Bourbon Review:

The batch I’ve been aging is 2011 and it’s an older release on the market. These whiskies are getting better and better, to use a popular saying. And there’s a reason for that. This year the Booker Noe Distillery team were put to the task of developing the Buffalo Trace Distillery’s bourbons, they went wild.

I’ve been waiting a long time to try this and it’s not like I’m impatient about seeing great whiskies, it’s more than that, I’ve always wanted to see what our final test for a Wild Turkey would be like.

As you may know, Wild Turkey took these distillates and set them on fire, or rather they were put in very heavy casks (or used heavily charred new barrels), as you know, these casks tenderize the bourbon. They are normally used to age bourbon and many of these casks would not have otherwise been used. The end result is a more robust bourbon, big and powerful and I think this is a good thing.

Wild Turkey Bourbon Review:

The nose is big, spicy and hot. The taste is big, spicy and hot. The finish is hot, spicy and big. What does it say? I’m glad you asked.

This is a big and spicy bourbon that you’ve never much been offered before. It’s got more rye spices to it than any Wild Turkey you’ve tried before, the pepper is very big and a bit hot and complex. The sweetness is there, but not that burn you’d normally find in Wild Turkey. But the spiciness is there. But isn’t Wild Turkey made with pepper and rye? So is the pepper here and that’s why it’s so complex.

I’ve no concerns about this whiskey. There was a note of vanilla in there on the palate and that’s not usual in Wild Turkey Whiskeys. Not usual in Bourbon in general. The rounded and spicy finish was big, hot and complex.

Wild Turkey Bourbon Review:

Go big or go home is the attitude of Eddie Russell. Not sound advice at all but as he’s driven this company since its founding by making and laying down lots of money in a southern bar, he’s got his priorities in tack.

I’m pleased. It’s a fun, interesting bourbon and it’s pulled of a very special thing which is give you more of what you know you love about the brand. This is big and spicy and big and spicy, and you’ll love it.

Thanks to Wild Turkey Bourbon for giving the whisky enthusiast the following opportunity to sample and review their whiskey.

Wild Turkey Bourbon/ Whiskey Review:

It’s not often that I say anything different, but this bourbon is a little different from most Wild Turkey Bourbons.

When I have reviewed the Wild Turkey Master’s Collection I just noted the obvious – and loved it. This time around it’s a bit different.

It’s just a transition bourbon that’s going to be blending well with Wild Turkey products in the future. It’s not going to be the final frontier.

As such I’ve learned something new about Wild Turkey and I now understand a little more of the tobaccos included in the mash bill (there’s a lot of tobacco in Wild Turkey mix vs. rye).

This was a very pleasant, easy to drink bourbon. It’s not one you can sit and munch on all evening, but it’s also unlikely that the intensity will leave you wanting to dry up and make your potato skins or put your feet up.

Wild Turkey Bourbon Review:

 The first thing I can say about this bourbon is that we’ve never done this before (reviewing a Wild Turkey)

It’s also one of the more bolder entries in the Wild Turkey line. It’s interesting to see what took so long to develop and now that it’s there it’s great. I have to say that Eddie has taken some great, big steps forward. This year Wild Turkey really hit the mark with their bourbon.


Written by Mark Adams

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