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Wild Turkey 81 Proof Bourbon

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Wild Turkey 81 Proof Bourbon

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Wild Turkey 81 Proof Bourbon

Wild Turkey, from Lawrenceburg in Kentucky, is undoubtedly a name you have heard before. For me it was – a long time ago – my first encounter with bourbon. I return with great pleasure, trying this 81 Proof.

Very sweet and spicy nose on plums, chocolate and maple syrup. A touch of leather. Some raisins. The crust of a freshly baked bread. But the whole is so very soft.

It is oily and honeysweet with a small prickle. Arrives quite candy-like. Phew! My teeth almost clatter out of my mouth from the sweetness. Raisins and chewing tobacco. Some parma violets. Oranges, the bitter ones. Soft on the spices. Think ginger and nutmeg. Caramel arrives in full force, as if this baby was not yet sweet enough…

The finish is surprisingly long on more of the same, with a bittersweet and very spicy end.

If you have a sweet tooth, you will certainly like this bourbon. Probably a very good mixer. Can you call this bang for your buck? With a price tag of only 20 EUR, I think that is warranted.


I started off by jotting down notes on the nose, palate, finish, etc. Instead, my review will be more opinionated and less statistical.

Carries some reasonable notes, sweet vanilla and cherry with a little char. But those are broken down by a medicinal finish. It lacks the weight and big flavour of it's great elder, Wild Turkey Tradition 14 year old, who binds and balances with precision, a powerful punch. 81 one has a wonderful nose and a great first impression, but when that cough sirup break through, I am turned off. I will probably consider playing around with the elements of this whisky. Chilled, with soda water or soda, any other suggestions?

I haven't tasted either the Wild Turkey 81 Bourbon or 81 Rye, so I can't comment on them specifically. My suggestion is that bourbons and US ryes generally get too dilute below 45% ABV, and I usually don't want to drink them below 50% ABV. There are some 45% exceptions to look forward to, like Eagle Rare 17, Eagle Rare 10, any 45%+ Ancient Age or Ancient Ancient Age product, Sazerac 18 Rye, Old Potrero Single Malt Rye, or a well-opened bottle of LDI Rye (Bulleit, etc.), all of these being at or near 45% ABV.

I don't have a specific cocktail suggestion for a 40.5% bourbon, other than the well-tried Manhattan or Old Fashioned. Now if you wanted to cocktail-ize a ho-hum rye whiskey I would suggest a large glass of ice, Diet Dr. Pepper Soft Drink (you have that in Quebec?), 2 oz of the rye whiskey, and a large slice of muddled sweet orange. Delicious. I especially like that with a not-ho-hum rye like Wild Turkey 101, which is currently unavailable almost everyplace except in the land of @A'bunadhman. I don't think that your bourbon would be quite spicy enough to put into this rye cocktail, but it might be worth a try.

My understanding was that the WT 81 was intended for mixing, but it is unfortunate that it seems to be the only WT expression available in Ontario and Quebec. I found it quite anemic, and ended up mixing it 50/50 with the remnants of my bottle of Old Forester Signature 100, which I found too hot and woody, as they had similar mash-bills. The end result was a pretty decent 45.25% ABV bourbon that I've been slowly working my way through.

You could probably use it to make almost any bourbon-based mixed drink - Mint Julep, Old Fashioned, etc., etc. - as was intended by its creators.


Fast thin legs (young whiskey). On the nose,sweet corn,floral & Citrus. Taste: Sherry, toffee and chocholate. Mouthfeel: thin, spitiry. Finish: Medium to short, peppery, spicy, drying effect, warming.

Good price! Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon is a big step up from the 80 proof, and the Wild Turkey Rare Breed is a step further, when you get the chance. Try the Wild Turkey 101 Rye Whiskey if you get the chance, as well.

Agreed Victor!! My preference is at around 100 to 120 proof. I haven't had any stronger then 120 in my past, but I'd love to give the staggs a shot sometime!!

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