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Wild Turkey Rare Breed

The Epitome of Wild Turkey

1 1292

@VictorReview by @Victor

20th Nov 2013

0

  • Nose
    23
  • Taste
    23
  • Finish
    23
  • Balance
    23
  • Overall
    92

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Wild Turkey Rare Breed is a mixture of bourbons of various ages, reported variously as 6,8,and 12 YO bourbons, elsewhere as 4,8,and 12 YO bourbons. It is sold at barrel proof/cask strength, i.e. undiluted. The reviewed bottle is from Batch W-T-01-99. The reviewed bottle has been open for 4 years and is half full. The review is of the whisky at 1 year bottle opened

Nose: lovely pointed flavours of baking spice from rye grain and of deep rich and sweet maplewood, including from the wood the natural flavours of caramel and vanilla. There is a lot of sweet here, but the dry balance is excellent. You can even smell a little char here, and it fits in beautifully

Taste: sharp, rich, deep, and sweet all at the same time. You can taste the older bourbons in this very strongly

Finish: rich and long, with all the flavours remaining until the end

Balance: this is a great bourbon, and a bourbon best buy. What makes Wild Turkey Wild Turkey to me is the extreme pointedness of its flavours. I love the pointed flavours, and they give tremedous ZIP to the whiskey. This pointedness is also usually present in most other Wild Turkey products, such as the Wild Turkey 101 Rye-- may it become available again soon. In the total spectrum of US whiskey "pointed vs rounded flavours", I think of Wild Turkey as being at the "pointed" extreme of bourbon and rye flavours, and of Four Roses and Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana products as being at the "rounded" extreme. I liked the 'pointed' style right away. It has taken me longer to like the rounded style. "Pointed" flavours are to me 'engaging' flavours. When someone new to bourbon who likes the Big Flavours asks me for a full-flavoured bourbon recommendation I steer her or him to either Booker's, Wild Turkey Rare Breed, or, if available, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. These three are the commonly available (soon, ECBP, I do hope!) and reasonably priced heart of the bourbon experience

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12 comments

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

Victor, thanks much for your commentary at the end of this review. The comparison between "rounded" and "pointed" flavors is just what I've been looking for as I try to find a bourbon that I can get excited about.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed just went to the top of my "bourbons to try" list.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Excellent, @OlJas! I was hoping that there would be those who would "get" what I have been saying about 'pointed' and 'rounded', and who would find the information useful. I hope that you enjoy Wild Turkey Rare Breed.

5 years ago 0

@dbk
dbk commented

Yep, Wild Turkey whiskies are downright "prickly" to me, @Victor! Great review (as usual) of a great bourbon.

5 years ago 0

@maltygirl
maltygirl commented

Victor, you hit it on the head. You described what I taste in bourbons but I never knew how to describe it until you gave it the descriptors "pointed" vs "rounded". I consider Noah's Mill and even my Willett Family Estate 6 yo pointed (yet also amazingly savory) and my Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition Single Barrel rounded. Of course it's all subjective but well done my friend, well done indeed!

5 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

Update: I bought the bottle. I tasted the bottle a few times. I'm disappointed with the bottle.

I imagine that people who are into bourbons will find its virtues, but for me it's another generic-tasting American whiskey that fails to excite. I keep trying to something besides peaty whiskies to get excited about, and I keep failing. It's back to Islay for me...

For what it's worth, the hypothetical American whiskey that I think I'd get into is dry and dusty. Does such a beast exist?

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

'Dry and dusty' US whiskey? Rye comes closest to that. If you are looking for bitter or salty flavours, you won't find those in US whiskeys.

5 years ago 0

@tjb
tjb commented

A great review @Victor, I have a bottle of this waiting to be opened so will see if I can identify with your pointed / rounded description. I am excited and will let you know what I think as I know you are a "big flavours" guy and 92 is certainly a good score in my book.

5 years ago 0

Jonathan commented

I haven't yet tried Rare Bird but am looking forward to trying it soon. Thanks for the review! A question: is part of the "zip" that you are describing related to ABV? ECBP is Heaven Hill--but cranked up to 137 proof. By the way, I'm glad that you recommended the ECPB. I'm enjoying a sip of it right now.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@tjb, I have been looking forward to your opening of that bottle of Wild Turkey Rare Breed. I am glad to hear that it will be soon.

@Jonathan, "ZIP" as I use it, above, would be approximately equal to the word "stimulation". The pointedness of the flavours was that to which I was referring in the review. That pointedness I find intrinsically attention-getting. While I was not referring specifically to ABV in the context of this review, I might also use the word "zip" to refer to the attention-getting quality which would result from the relatively high concentration of flavours which the undiluted whiskey brings with it. Wild Turkey Rare Breed contains flavours both pointed in their quality and also possessing their full original unaltered concentration.

5 years ago 0

@DutchGaelisch
DutchGaelisch commented

@Victor, Thanks for this review. I really like the Elijah Craig 12, this Wild Turkey Rare Breed got my attention. What do you recommend for my next Bourbon, Wild Turkey Rare Breed, Wild Turkey 101 or Elijah Craig Barrel Proof?

4 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@DutchGaelisch, you'll do fine trying any one of the three bourbons you mention. They are all ones you should at some time get a taste of.

Wild Turkey 101 is really the 'standard' for the brand, since bourbon lovers rarely use the 80 and 81 proof bourbons for much but cocktails.

If all three are available to you I would suggest trying the Elijah Craig Barrel Proof next (it is also a 12 yo). That is quite a high octane experience, and (in the US) a much more difficult bottle to obtain. You will not believe the colour of that whiskey. Batches thus far come in at 67.1%, 68.5%, 66.6%, 66.2%, and 70.1% ABV.(N.B. the 66.2% batch is noticeably thinner in flavour structure than the other ECBPs I've had.) If you've never had bourbon above 60% abv, it is quite a treat. After that you can get back to the Wild Turkey 101 and Rare Breed, both of which will likely remain more regularly available. Drop me a line if you would like additional bourbon/American whiskey suggestions.

4 years ago 0

@DutchGaelisch
DutchGaelisch commented

@Victor, Thank you for the extensive answer. I can get a Elijah Craig Barrel Proof 67,4% for € 55,- (same price range as Glenlivet Nadurra 16 yo in my region). This is gonna be my next bottle in my Bourbon journey. I'll keep reading your Bourbon posts!

4 years ago 0

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