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Wild Turkey 101

Average score from 15 reviews and 18 ratings 84

Wild Turkey 101

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@cricklewood
Wild Turkey 101

After having had a few really good bourbons last year I vowed to try and purchase more of them this year. While I have been eyeing some of the more premium selections, enough members here waxed on about Wild Turkey 101 offering more than one would expect from a bourbon in it's category. I figured I didn't have much to lose, worse case it could be used for cocktails.

From a bottle opened in November, I poured a dram in both a Canadian style Glencairn and a traditional one.

Nose: Fresh wet oak, caramel corn, a kind of dusty cumin and allspice, pleasant warm grain/corn porridge note.There is a smidge of green apple skin and then lots of cherries building up. There's a persistent astringency and bite from the alcohol. The Canadian Glencairn, offers more oak/cedar and herbal intensity. a touch of cinnamon red hot candies and a mintiness. The rye blooms towards the end, with a bit of yeasty brown bread too, it's a very warming and inviting nose.

Palate: Sweet and dry, creme caramel and rising bread, oak, green plantain, bran muffins, spicy rye and savory feeling on the tip of the tongue, like mountain mint or oregano, a sort of resin-like feeling. Definitely a bit sharp when it first hits your throat but it's just go this great chewy mouthfeel to it.

Finish: It fades away quickly, leaving a bit of tobacco, sweet vanilla and then turning to dry oak, a bit of barrel char, Turkish delight and caramel corn.

The Canadian Glencairn performed really well here it had a bit more burn but the bourbon felt fuller with more complex, with a bit of a floral touch whereas the nose was darker, closed even a bit dustier when using the traditional glass.One thing to note, there is a drying astringent bite to this bourbon that I generally find pleasant but at times can be off putting.

Overall I really enjoyed this bourbon, it can be easygoing with a large ice cube to sip on a hot day, works well in cocktails due to the abv or can provide enough interest if I want to have it neat and take my time. At 36$ it's got great value as well.

@Megawatt

Nose: smoky! Wood char, tobacco, even a hint of fireplace. Not a lot of sweetness here, mostly oak and alcohol. Some fruity notes in there too, peaches or something similar. Water brings out some sweetness, along with enticing herbal rye notes.

Taste: hot and strong, again not much in the way of sweetness. The taste is actually quite rough, with sour notes quickly developing. For me, water is a must, taming the bitterness and again allowing the rye to emerge.

Finish: too bitter for my liking.

Balance: as a disclaimer I should mention I'm not a big Wild Turkey fan, having only tried their entry-level whiskies before. 101 is not a bad whiskey but for my tastes it's not much of a sipper. Too harsh and bitter. Unlikely I will buy again, even though it represents a good value in Ontario. Oh well, now I know.

Wow. This sounds nothing like the WT101 I reviewed. Goes to show how different palates are. This is one of my favourite budget bourbons. I got lots of cherries and oak I think. Maybe give it time to open up and revisit later?

Interesting, also not like the WT101 I had. I got a bunch of pecans, cherry and caramel. I'm sure as such a mass produced product there will be some variation. Maybe you got a bad batch.

@RianC

This was possibly the first bourbon I had that really sold me to it as a quality product worth investigating further - and I've barely scratched the surface to be fair. From what I gather this is a favourite in the US but seems to carry a, perhaps, rather unfortunate association with red necks in vests and general blue collar shenanigans. I'm not gonna lie, this does it for me:

On the nose is the usual bourbon notes of rose water - quite a lot here actually - some charred vanilla, a definite alcohol nip (which I'll come back to), modelling glue and some mild toffee. There's oak here as well and while it's quite up front it is well balanced with the rest. Some spices here as well such as clove and cinnamon.

Taste is sour cherries up front and then develops into creamy vanilla, with more sour cherries, toffee (like a nut glaze caramel) and ends up at the drying spices which play nicely with the sweetness. I'd also say there's a rye note (mint) but my experience with that grain is limited, so it probably stands out quite a bit for me.

Finish is quite long and some of the oak tannins start to dominate the palette. I'm drinking this neat but water is sometimes needed. The water brings out more wood but looses some of the punch, which brings me onto . . .

You can not help but notice the 'burn' here. This is probably 6 - 8 year old stuff at 50.5 % and it shows. That said, it is not unpleasant. Far from it. What makes this bourbon for me is the 'pep' that it offers. It's been a damp, drizzly miserable old British day today and the room I work in is damp. Settling down with a nip of this is really the ticket today and that heat inside after a sip is most welcome!

I seldom overindulge anymore with alcohol but should I ever want to totally kick back I would probably reach for a bottle of this and a few beers. Good to sip, great to drink casually and it also makes a fine Old fashioned (my better half's two penneth!).

I have to add that the dram I've just finished to do the review was really, really good! Must be in the mood . . .

I've had a bottle of the 40.5% bottling recently and while it carried the same profile, unmistakably so, it was significantly worse off for the lower abv. Good as a mixer though.

@OdysseusUnbound

This is a preview of a blog entry I’m hoping to post tomorrow

I always thought Wild Turkey was the drink of choice for those who were the real life incarnation of the slack-jawed yokel Cletus from The Simpsons. I walked by it for years without giving it a second thought. Then I came here and found many saying it was worth a try. I’m glad I tried it.

Tasting Notes

  • Nose (undiluted): an initial hit of white glue, develops to floral vanilla, rich toffee and oak tannins with a bit of time in the glass.
  • Palate (undiluted): a bit hot on arrival, medium-bodied, sweet candy-corn, dark toffee developping to fruity sour-cherry candies (the ones that look like little cherries on the vine). Yummy.
  • Finish: medium-long, the fruitiness dissipates, vanilla returns but gives way to oak tannins and coconut notes on the finish.

Adding water brought out more oak notes, more vanilla but dialed back the fruitiness which is what I like about this whiskey. For a supposedly high-rye whiskey, I got no real “typical” rye notes. It’s not a bad thing, just curious. I prefered this without water at a “just right” 50.5% ABV. The fact that it’s inexpensive adds to it’s charm. There’s a great balance between oakiness and fruitiness. All for about $4 more than Jack Daniel’s.

@casualtorture - ha ha, It's all in good jest, promise :) If anything I'm saying I feel I can relate to the stereotypes smiley

And I do love Dolly Parton!

@Robert99 - Parsnip gin . . . well well! The seaweed one sounds intriguing as well.

I think what I liked was just how 'clean' it was, and was one of the first gins I'd thought could be sipped neat (was probably 5 years or so since I had it, mind). I like the more yang style and the export Tanqueray is always a good choice and good vfm here. I'd say the Botanist was somewhere in the middle but had those quintessential gin flavours. Just very 'nicely done'.

I may be more like you with the bourbon and Scotch though. Not tried the FR SB but it's on my list. Currently enjoying Eagle Rare 10 which I'd say is more on that yin theme.

@casualtorture

I have returned to America just in time for Independence Day, and figured a nice American whiskey would do the trick. I haven't had the standard 81 proof. This bottle is my mom's, is 3/4 full and opened for about a month apparently. I believe there is a higher rye content in this than the standard 81 proof but I ask for verification on that.

Nose: Pecans, walnuts, caramel, vanilla. Sweet. Very nutty. It's almost like smelling your grandma's pecan pie with an alcohol kick.

Palate: More pecan specifically, along with other temperate climate nuts. Pine nuts, walnuts, oak, even some minty green pine needles...would be a good forest whiskey....if thats a thing. Caramel, vanilla, and leche cake are there as well especially on the finish to make for a pretty sweet finish. 5 minutes later and that minty green pine needle taste returns which I find unique and I'm fairly fond of it.

Overall: I enjoyed this. It's a bit sweet at some points, but the flavors are big and well balanced. If you know me then you know I'm not a huge bourbon guy. I will say this, I liked this better than the Knob Creek 9yr that I had while in China which suprised me because this is half the age.

Happy 4th and welcome home to me!

@casualtorture, nice review.

When you do have 81 proof Wild Turkey bourbon do remember that 80 and 81 proof bourbons are always the barrels that are left over after every other more premium product claims the better barrels. In other words, do remember that 80 and 81 proof bourbons are the 'just OK' barrels intended primarily for mixing.

@markjedi1

Next to the 81 Proof, which means as much as 40,5% ABV, there is also a version called 101 Proof. Hence, this one has an alcohol percentage of 50,5%.

The nose is very similar to the 81 Proof. This is very likely the same stuff, but simply bottled at a higher strength. For here again I get raisins, chewing tobacco and maple syrup. It is also quite spicy, thanks to the higher percentage of rye in the mashbill. Finally, the nose is similarly soft.

It is pretty oily and a bit burning upon arrival. The first sip is actually quite alcoholic and makes me gasp for air. The second is more soothing. Honeysweet and spicy on oranges, raisins, but also pecan nuts and nutmeg. Ginger and oak round out the palate.

The finish is fairly long, honeysweet with a warm, spicy end.

Not a very complex bourbon. But damn, so sweet! I do not find the higher alcohol content (as opposed to the 81 Proof) an advantage. It is just a tad better on the palate, though.

@Frost

Wild Turkey is famous here in Australia. It's stocked in all chain stores with a variety of expressions. Today is the 101 Proof.

Nose: Leather, sandalwood, oak, vanilla, walnuts, lemon zest, tobacco

Taste: Red and green apples, sarsaparilla, brown sugar, tobasco sauce

Finish: Dry, tart, leather, sour, medium finish length

This is good drinking right here. Love the ABV on this one.

I'm becoming a sucker for American whiskey with high ABV. And that can be a difficult thing to find here, when many mass produced core expressions of American whiskey stocked in chain stores is criminally watered down to 37% when bottled for the Australian market.

@Frost, "high ABV" is a relative concept. By US whiskey standards 50% ABV was merely the old standard strength. 'Bottled in Bond' was the standard, at 50% ABV, up until at least the 1960s.

I like "high ABV" whisk(e)y. By US standards, anything over 60% ABV is "pretty high". So many of the US barrel strength whiskeys are over 60% ABV that that doesn't seem particularly high to me anymore, in a relative sense. "High ABV" for me begins around 68% ABV, and I have really liked every whiskey I've had the pleasure to drink above that mark. I must have over 15 bottles in storage which I cannot legally bring onto an airplane, because they are classified as 'hazaradous materials' at 70% ABV and up. I look forward to introducing you to a few of these if and when I see you in person...probably not the result of my having taken "a slow boat to Australia".

@Victor...if you're referring to the Sullivan's Cove in my cabinet, it was actually purchased in California and kindly gifted to me. I don’t believe Ontario has ever seen a SC bottle on its retail shelves.

@Pete1969

This is the base product from WT but by no means does that relate to inferior, this bourbon punches well above its price bracket costs me 22.95 euro plus shipping from europe. Totals around £18 or $27.50 all in but cheapest I can find it on sale in UK is £25.

Nose is sweet honey and caramel with vanilla and spice classic bourbon with just a bit of alcohol which settles after a few minutes in the glass.

Taste starts out brown sugar and caramel with a viscous oily consistency which immediately starts to coat the mouth and tongue as the liquid hits the mid palate spice heat starts to develop with cinnamon and cloves.

Long finish with a satisfying heat from the spice and a slight alcohol punch with a bit of drying oak which just leaves you wanting another taste.

This is a good solid product with a mix of 6,7 and 8 year casks and I would not be without a bottle in my developing cabinet

Just had a bottle of the 8 year old new label do not rate as highly as the NAS probably around a 76 slightly off note on the palate couldn't get the sweetness on palate but the spice was still there will be sticking with the NAS in future have one in stock and different league in a H2H.

A

Alcohol is definitely there in the nose, but countered by sweet maple syrup, vanilla and french oak

Taste is of stinging ethanol, sweet corn grain, very light oak

Finish is a bit rough, burns plenty with slight caramel sweetness

The balance on this bourbon is somewhat off, kinda harsh, best used as a mixer

@Nock

Still on my quest for a good every day cooking/cocktail/sipping bourbon. Here is the most recent contender. On this evening I tasted: Jack Danie’s, Evan Williams Green & Black, Maker’s Mark, Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star, and Rare Breed.

Nose: Sweet baked apples and brown sugar with a background of tart lemon peel. This guy is both the sweet and the sour. Definitely the biggest contrast of what I am comparing tonight. Cloves, cinnamon, brown sugar, oak, vanilla, burnt matches, gun power, anise, and turpentine. The nose really grows on me. This might be my favorite whisky sour nose ever! It is both immature and thin (compared to ECBP and Stagg Jr.), but also elusive and beguiling. I might take it over the Rare Breed by a hair. – With water: more ice cream, tobacco, and baked apple notes.

Taste: Very tart and sweet. Big mouth feel, with both brown sugar and lemons. Less sweet then the Jack, but also more sour. Sweet light-brown sugar and sour apple in a wonderful balance. - With water: applesauce, apple tart, and apple jelly Definitely delivering what the nose promised.

Finish: Very spicy finish with tons of pepper, cinnamon, and cayenne. There is a nice intake of breath and then a huge building of power and presence to a wonderful sweet, sour, salty and spicy finale. Lovely sweet, sour, and spicy finish. It has both lemon juice, brown sugar, and sea salt - leaves a nice saltiness in the mouth. Really good stuff this.

Balance, Complexity: Very nice and interesting balance of sour and sweet along with spice and saltiness. I quite enjoy the extremes. And it certainly doesn’t disappoint on the taste or finish. Not as balanced as the Makers but more complex . . . I call it even.

Aesthetic experience: I love the ABV of 50.5%. It might be my favorite “sipping” strength (where I also enjoy the extreme 57%+ category for tasting). It does say “middle shelf” with the crazy turkey on the label. At $24.90 here in Virginia it is a very good whiskey for the price.

Conclusion: After my lower end bourbon tasting I am left with AAA 10 Star, OGD 114 and this WT101. I have to say that of the three I think this flat out tastes the best to me. I think I enjoy OGD114 more for its power and price point. But the AAA 10 Star is hard to beat at less then half the price. Decisions, decision. Maybe I will just have to keep one of each on hand. I will definitely buy this bottle again.

Excellent review--and not just because your tasting notes are so similar to mine! I bought the 101 a few weeks ago when I had room in my budget for one more inexpensive bottle, and I'm very glad I did. Truly one for the Bang-for-the-Buck Honor Roll.

@GotOak91

This, personally, is a whiskey that takes me back a little as it was a symbol of a good time and it was the first whiskey I ever attempted to decipher. Age is believed to be between 6-8 years. (From multiple sources.) Anyways lets get to that review:

Color: A deep burnt red orange/orange.

Nose: Gentle yet sweet with caramel, brown sugar, and some toffee. Sweet corn also shines through. Not a lot going on here but that can be deceiving.

Body: Medium-rich coats the tongue and mouth with a gentle tingle on the tongue. The 101 proof is showing its strength.

Taste: A little bit of butterscotch and caramel at the beginning. But it feels that something sinister is a foot as less sweet notes come along. Notes of pepper, rye, charred oak, mint, and specks of alcohol. Not in a negative fashion, its more of reminder that this is a part of Kentucky's finest.

Finish: This whiskey has one of my favorite finishes as drying-spicy elements of rye and pepper take over immediately and lasts longer in the way of warmth.

Overall: An excellent whiskey for less than $20. It is also a whiskey that is what it advertises, a no prisoner, high proof bourbon with a reasonable amount of rye in its mashbill. This isn't a whiskey for a beginner even though it is at beginner prices. But I thoroughly enjoy this whiskey and any seasoned high proof bourbon drinker might enjoy it too.

@valuewhisky

Nose: WT101 has nice aromas coming off the glass: barrel char, oak, corn, hot cinnamon (think hot cinnamon candy, not cinnamon strudel). However, I have always found WT101 difficult to nose because if you inhale too much, it burns your nostrils (though you don't really smell the alcohol - just feel it). And no, I am no newbie to high-strength spirits. I have had many higher-proof spirits that I enjoy nosing.

Palate: Very sweet. All kinds of bourbon sweetness: corn, maple, vanilla, caramel. Wild Turkey brings the heat to balance out its intense sweetness, though! It's very hot/spicy/fiery. Not just rye pepper, not just hot oak, not just high alcohol content. Heat from all of the above, but Wild Turkey goes above and beyond to bring it's own serrano-pepper and hot cinnamon spiciness.

Finish: plenty of sweetness, yet still balanced by the oak and spice. No off notes anywhere.

So, it's a good whiskey. You've got extreme spice and extreme sweetness, but those elements are in balance. There are no off flavors anywhere. The only bad component of this bourbon is the nostril-burning nose. Otherwise, if you want an extreme bourbon and enjoy that really hot cinnamon, then go for it! For me, I enjoy drinking it, but I don't usually reach for it in the cabinet. It's like when it's winter and it's cold and really dry, and you build up static on your body, you don't want to go touch that car door. You KNOW you're going to get shocked. Same with pouring a glass of WT101.

I've dabbled a little bit in mixing, with mixed results (pun intended). First off, I haven't had WT81, and I haven't had OF100, but I've had the OF 86 proof (which is nasty). Going off what I know of WT101 and OF86, my guess is that mixing would tame the OF's hotness a bit, and add some background spice notes from the Turkey, and possibly result in something more drinkable... but maybe not ;-)

My official recommendation: try it in a small amount before committing! If you have any empty miniature bottles, those are good for experimental mixing, and you can let it meld together for a few days.

@valuewhisky - have you tried the WT 81? We can't get the 101 up here...I opened my bottle of 81 recent, and while I enjoyed the flavour, it seemed kind of anemic compared to my bottle of Old Forester Signature (which I actually find rather strong), and didn't have as nice of a nose. As the the two have very similar mash bills I'm toying the with idea of creating a 50/50 blend of WT 81 and OF 100, which would result in a 45.25% ABV bourbon. Thoughts?

@dbk

Wild Turkey is a curious brand. With their latest “give ‘em the bird” campaign, WT continues to position its whiskey with the “bad boy” crowd. No doubt, it’s immensely popular with the type of person who thinks that quietly suffering the burn in one’s throat after taking a shot is the truest measure of manhood.

In economic terms, there is nothing peculiar about reinforcing this logic to a certain—large—whiskey-buying audience. What is peculiar is how well liked WT is among the myriad American whiskey enthusiasts who are not part of this demographic. One might tend to guess that marketing a whiskey as a “tough guy’s” drink would be the strategy of choice for abominable whiskey, and that’s no doubt generally true. But WT is a serious exception.

Wild Turkey bourbon uses rye as the “small” grain in its mash bill, like most bourbons on the market. The rye content isn’t terribly high (around 13% of the mash), but it is nevertheless unmistakable in the resulting profile. In the summer of 2011, Wild Turkey moved from its old distillery across the road to a new facility, more than doubling its production capacity to 11 million gallons per year. At the same time, they upped the alcohol content of their flagship bourbon by 1º—that is, Wild Turkey 81 and 101 proof. This was more than just mere marketing, however: the new release was also an improvement in quality (especially the 81 over the 80).

The nose on the Wild Turkey 101 is prickly from the outset, but also immediately expressive. There are dominant notes of baking spices (especially cinnamon and nutmeg), walnuts and peanuts, vanilla, and yeasty rye bread. Other notes of honeycomb, sarsaparilla syrup, sweetened cocoa powder, and brown sugar appear occasionally.

Like the nose, the palate is a little hot, a little sharp, and quite engaging. There is an initial hot streak of cinnamon that contrasts nicely with honey, butter, walnuts, citrus fruit (oranges and grapefruit), and sarsaparilla. The finish is healthy and the sweet and dry elements are beautifully balanced throughout, though the opening heat is not fully in check.

Those among you who have ignored Wild Turkey because of its marketing have had, in general, a good reason to do so. (Notably, the current flagship WT releases are not, as of writing, listed on Connosr.) The reason, however, is simply not good enough in this case. Consider the bird.

I am not getting this joke because I just don't know the marketing stuff about this WT. Maybe I will search it later. Or maybe it's just good the way it is, because most times when I am biased by marketing it's in the negative way and not vice versa.

And once again a great review, for the case this tagging system will work some day, I am using this again like @Victor: dbk-esque! Glad the scientist is back :)

I just found your review by chance because I was searching for an entry-rye once again. With 13% I guess it's not what distinguishes a rye from a bourbon. Maybe I will buy it nonetheless.

Cheers, @Wills! Here's the original tune by The Trashmen: www.youtube.com/watch

I've always been partial to this "cover," however: www.youtube.com/watch

I don't think that WT 101 bourbon should be used as a rye stand-in, even with its prominent rye notes, but there is a WT 101 rye. It may be easier to find in some places than others—I don't know what the American whiskey scene is like in Germany, for instance. My favourite entry level rye at the moment is Sazerac, but Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond is also a well-loved choice. That said, the latter is more bourbon-like than the former.

@Victor

Wild Turkeys are extremely beautiful birds in the wild. They are canny, wary, and take flight quickly when startled. I have had the delight of walking up on some wild turkeys in a field and seeing them take to the air in flight.

In the USA, Wild Turkey 101 proof/50.5% ABV bourbon carries no age statement, probably because it so familiar to Americans and age statements are not the selling point among US bourbon drinkers that they are among Scotch malt drinkers.

I've consumed this bourbon, occasionally, for several decades now, always liking it but never holding it in adulation. The reviewed bottle is about 3 years old, and is 2/3rds full.

Colour: pretty dark, 60%-ile for bourbons probably, 95%-ile for Scotches. New wood gives a lot of colour

Nose: both mellower and milder than when first opened; lots of sweet oak/maple, lots of vanilla

Taste: robust classic bourbon flavours, with lots of charred new wood oak, above average rye content in a bourbon, and plenty of sweetness from the wood. I have not always found this bourbon to be mellow, but this bottle has mellowed out in time. This is not the smoothest bourbon on the lot, but it is a strong and represtative one

Finish: a good strong long bourbon finish. How good the flavours are depends somewhat on where in the oxidation cycle you sample it. I like this best well-oxidised

Balance: not subtle at all...Jethro Leroy Gibbs in NCIS...if you play this bottle right it is very satisfying, but you may have to wait for it to mellow to your liking. I'll generally prefer the Wild Turkey Rare Breed to 101, but I would be very satisfied to have 101 as my companion in the cabin in the Yukon for the winter rather than nothing

Rating is for the bottle now 3 years opened. This would have rated for me 21-21-20-22=84 at first opened

@peatsmoker

This whiskey reminds me of a big sherried Speysider. Rich and sweet, big and spicy. Wonderful Bourbon straight off the shelf in, probably every liquor store in the country! Amazing value for money, available from airline size up to a big swig size (the kind with the handle built in). This is why I drink mostly American whiskey these days.

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