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Wild Turkey 101

Talkin’ Turkey

3 3285

@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

16th Nov 2017

0

  • Nose
    20
  • Taste
    22
  • Finish
    21
  • Balance
    22
  • Overall
    85

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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.

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32 comments

@Frost
Frost commented

Good review @OdysseusUnbound

The ABV & price are right for this one. And most importantly. it's delicious.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

Nice review! This was one of the first bourbons (after Bulleit) that really 'got me'. Usually about £30 over here but I recently picked up two bottles at £18 each on Amazon which is amazing! (I noticed that price went pretty quickly!)

I've just opened a bottle and hope to do a few bourbon reviews soon but unlike you I definitely get the rye note - I would wager though that my experience with rye is much less than most N Americans so, like someone new to peat, it probably stands out quite a bit.

I get the sense this is perceived as a bit of a 'Red Neck' bourbon?! That makes me chuckle! I'm from the north of England (but live in the south) and the general view is that 'northeners' are more, earthy, shall we say ;) When I see these red neck films I often think you could transport half of my home town to the south of the US, leave em there a while and voila you'd have mullet wearing, slack jawed, red-necked gawkers that Dolly Parton would be proud to call family! Sorry, Dolly - I will always love you!

Perhaps that's why I like it so much?!

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@casualtorture
casualtorture commented

I agree @OdysseusUnbound I never gave this a thought until I joined Connosr. I believe I gave this an 88 and had to check myself because I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it is. A bargain bourbon with a value comparable to OGD 100 proof. I would describe it as fairly thick and chewy. Stereotypical bourbon texture.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@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!

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

13% rye content is widely reported for Wild Turkey Bourbon. That is middle of the road rye content for a bourbon, actually slightly to the light side of middle of the road. Wild Turkey is not a high rye content bourbon, but it is one which has very pointed flavours.

What always impresses me as the 'house style' of Wild Turkey is a very sharp-edged set of flavours, accentuated by heavy char. The opposite side of the spectrum would be Four Roses, particularly the Four Roses OE mashbill at 20% rye content, but very soft rounded flavours by comparison. Percentage rye content does not in itself determine how much one tastes the rye in the whisky. (Try some Alberta Distillers Tangle Ridge 100% rye...until the bottle is open for 4 years all you taste is sherry. No rye in sight, or mouth. Or try some Beam (ri)1 straight rye from 10 years ago---there all you tasted was water.)

@RianC, yes, bourbon is by history, culture, and tradition a Southern rural blue-collar drink. Bourbon is the working man's drink, not the drink of the whiskey snob. Its adoption as stylish, up-scale, and global is a recent and rather unanticipated event. Also recent and unprecedented are prices for many bourbons above $ 20 a bottle. Ten years ago most bourbon drinkers could not fathom the idea of paying $ 100 for a bottle of bourbon (except for 23 yo Pappy Van Winkle). Now $ 100 is the price tag, even within the US, for many start-up relatively young micro-distillery bourbons. Your 18 quid price for Wild Turkey 101 is about what we usually pay where I live. And yes, 1 quid per shot is quite a bargain for Wild Turkey 101. Try some Wild Turkey Rare Breed. You will like it.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Victor - Interesting and well articulated post. I like the comparison to FR and see what you mean about opposite ends. I know it's not very PC and old-fashioned to use such terms but WT is like the macho buck and FR more the refined lady. Both are excellent in my experience.

Re the southern culture - please let me clarify that I wasn't 'taking the piss', well certainly not out of southerners; more folk who hold onto such stereotypes. I guess this bourbon boom must seem odd to many of you? To me, it was always seen in cowboy films or the kind of thing Dirty Harry would swig from when he got home from work! I'm a working class, northern English boy and wasn't being that silly when I said I feel I could relate to that aspect of American culture. We aren't all 'speaking the Queen's' over here ha!

Seems that bourbon is going the way whisky here went years ago - from a working class treat (when they'd had their fill of beer, I suppose?) to the Landed gentry's personal pleasure . . . tis the way of things it seems. Still, there are gems out there, like the 101, that 'keep it real'.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@RianC, it seemed quite clear to me that you have great affection for that about which you have been speaking. No one is even hinting that you have been impolite about the US Southern rural culture. @casualtorture was just teasing you, good ole Alabama boy that he is.

There is a whole US whiskey education in my old posts. When I came to Connosr in late 2010, almost no one on here had any real experience of American whiskey and there were only a small handful, maybe 25, reviews of US whiskey and Canadian whisky. I made a point of changing that. Since about 2013 Connosr member international experience of US whiskey has become much greater, along with greater availability of the US products abroad.

Nowadays there are many hundreds of small whiskey distilleries operating within the US with about a dozen new distilleries opening every month. I do not even begin to try to keep up with all of the new products coming out, both because they are almost all very young, and almost all very expensive for what you get, relatively speaking. The big legacy distillers, like Wild Turkey, deliver through well-amortised capital investment and economies of scale, the best value for money at this time. Value for money is, and has always been, very important to me.

I do think, also, that your description of Wild Turkey as being in a more masculine style, and Four Roses being in a more feminine style, is spot on. My favourite relevant Gin analogy is that I call Hendricks the "Yin Gin". Tanqueray, by contrast, is a classic very "Yang" Gin.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Victor - two very nice gins and I concur! Have you ever tried the Botanist, Bruichladdie's gin? Possibly the best I've had.

2 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@RianC, I don't think that I have tried the Botanist Gin.

2 years ago 0

@RianC
RianC commented

@Victor - A bit pricey for a gin but very good. Worth a look if you get the chance.

2 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@RianC I am not as enthusiast about The Botanist as you are. It is good but I was expecting more from Bruichladdich. Maybe that's the problem. In Quebec, we now have many new gin from young distilleries. Among my favorites, there is one made with seaweed, one made with four kind of wild mushroom and another made with parsnip. The one with seaweed is more like what I was expecting from an Islay gin.

@Victor Reading your comment confirm to me that I am more of a "Yin" drinker when it comes to bourbon. Except from the BTAC, FR SB, the one at 50% ABV, is probably my favorite Bourbon. The 35% Rye worked for me not as much for the rye spices as for the floral notes that are so typical of young Rye. I am still looking to have an old American Rye to see want become of those floral notes. It is strange to realize that when you consider how much of a "Yang" drinker I am when it comes to Scotch and more specifically Islay. I would not be surprise that with time I will come to appreciate lighter Scotch.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@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.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@Victor I think I got the “higher rye” comment from the bottle. Now highER rye content is relative I guess. I’m trying to keep this bottle around to see what happens. I have plenty of other “goodies” to sample since someone was quite generous with me. I’m also trying to hold off on purchases for a bit since I have limited space in my home cabinet and several unopened bottles. Pappy 23 will just have to wait. stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye

2 years ago 0

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@RianC I’m from North-Eastern Ontario (Sudbury) and we’re generally viewed by Southern Ontarians as “blue collar” or “rough around the edges”. But then, our affectionate nickname for people from Toronto is “citiots” (city + idiots = citiots). Now to be clear, this isn’t malicious or mean-spirited. Or it isn’t intended to be hurtful. Regional rivalries are a long-standing tradition pretty much everywhere.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@OdysseusUnbound, you city slickers from Sudbury don't stand a chance when visiting the suburbs. You need a vaccine, passport, and armed guard to get through Copper Cliff.... and special dispensation from the Pope just to enter Little Italy...and remember to bring yer spare liver with ya. wink

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@paddockjudge LOL ! I grew up playing hockey in Copper Cliff, before I joined a team from Coniston. I guess you could say I was a real journeyman, physically dominant defenseman. wink

2 years ago 4Who liked this?

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@RianC Another variationon on the "Yin" theme is Jack Daniel Single Barrell. I don't like JD 7, but I love the SB. If you like wheat, try Weller 12 yo. Unfortunately, this one is not available around me.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@OdysseusUnbound - My ex's Dad (from Montreal) was a hockey player. I went to watch them play - retired seniors at this point, mind - and was in awe at the physicality of it. A lot of my extended family play(ed) rugby but I lack the size for that game. Muay Thai, boxing and football were my things until my hip decided to give up . . .

Toronto is a beautiful city btw. I even saw some Mounties there . . .

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Robert99 - The only wheated bourbon I've had is Maker's and I wasn't that keen to be honest - I would like to try a wholly, or mostly, wheated spirit though.

I know what you mean about JD. I don't really like the Old no.7 but the Master Distiller editions are decent for daily sipping (that extra abv makes a difference and I'm sure there's more wood influence?) and I do like the unique sweetness you get with JD. I have a single barrel offering in my cupboard but may wait for summer for that one. I tend to find bourbon/TW suits the warmer weather more than a lot of Scotches.

2 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@RianC I am not fond of Maker's either. Weller 12 is another beast, more like a tame beast. It is round, soft and sometime a beauty. What I noticed with wheat is that it is soft and always remind me of wheat cream at the beginning but can become quite spicy with time and air exposure. It is obvious with Bernheim Original, but with the corn of Weller 12 it is simply as if this gentle dram is showing its underneath character.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@RianC, standard Maker's Mark is the blunt instrument, dare I say, the Jim Beam White Label, of wheated bourbon...a ubiquitous very basic product. Maker's has always advertised itself as a premium product, but many of us find standard Maker's Mark to be a little crude as a sipper, especially by comparison to other wheated bourbons. Wheated bourbon and wheat whiskey steal a lot of people's first affection. But you need to try a more refined "starter" product. Try the better stuff. There is a reason why it has become absurdly difficult and expensive to buy a bottle of Van Winkle bourbon. And William Larue Weller.

Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey, 51% wheat mashbill, is a very very well-accepted mellow wheated whiskey. And as for the Maker's Brand, try some of the Maker's 46. That is a much better sipper than is standard Maker's Mark. The barrels Julian Van Winkle passed over at the Buffalo Trace Distillery become the Weller line. Weller is lovely, and now allocated. And get someone to give you a taste of William Larue Weller, the rugby player and world-beater of wheated bourbons.

One learns the potential of gemstones by studying the $ 20,000 stones, not the $ 50 stones.

2 years ago 3Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@RianC The last bottle of Maker’s I had was rated 81 pts.....by me. And that was generous. In the review’s ensuing discussion, it appears that my bottle was a “good one” since it presented almost no alcohol burn. I’m keeping my eye out for some better wheaters and I signed up to the LCBO’s Vintages website, because I believe that’s where the BTAC lottery notifications go out. I’d love to get my hands on a bottle of William Larue Weller.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@OdysseusUnbound, for what it is worth, William Larue Weller is the bottle among all of the world's whiskies I would most like to get my hands on with every year's new release.

2 years ago 3Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Victor - Good point but it gives an you an inclination of the style if nothing else. I will look out for Bernheim but many on the list to go before then . . .

@OdysseusUnbound - I remember mine being very nippy on first contact, so much so I almost gave it away. It mellowed considerably after a few months and was reasonably enjoyable as it went down, but not my thing, really.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@RianC, yes, certainly there is acquaintance with the genre with everything purchased, but, when people tell you that their only acquaintance is with Johnnie Walker Red Label, do you agree with them that they now know what "Scotch" tastes like?

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Victor It would be my honor to share a glass of William Larue Weller with you next time we see each other as I was lucky enough to get one at the first lottery of SAQ for BTAC.

2 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Robert99, thank you. The honour would also be mine. I am looking forward to it. This is the 2017 that you have obtained? Super!

Don't know when that will happen, but @Dramlette and I have been Jones-ing a bit about Quebec lately. December is our favourite time to visit...all that Drapeau Bleu in the Sky and White on the Ground.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@Robert99,

my first taste of Willian Larue Weller uncut was provided by @Victor. WLW is a cut above almost every other bourbon.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@paddockjudge Don't you mean it's an "uncut' above the rest?

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Victor - Not at all and I totally get your point, and agree! My lack of enthusiasm for Maker's was more to do with the youth/roughness of the spirit rather than the flavour profile per se.

2 years ago 0

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