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Just to compare the Wild Turkey 101 I picked up this miniature of Rare Breed. I have tried this on several occasions in the past. Lets see what tonight brings:
Nose: More subdued on the front then WT101. However, there is a much deeper sweetness with more brown sugar and less sourness. You seem to dive into that intense sweet dark brown sugar. With more time that sourness starts to come through in a very lovely and mature way. It makes the 101 seem thin similar to the Evan Williams Green vs. Black. The nose makes me think of baked apples, and deep thick applesauce heavily dosed with dark brown sugar. With water: more smoked BBQ, hickory oak, and sour apples.
Taste: Sweet brown sugar and vanilla on the front, with a bit of sour starting to emerge in the back. With more time on the tongue salt and sour dominate. A much thicker mouth-feel then the 101; more complex and enjoyable. With water: stands up very nicely (compared to the 101) with plenty of power, complexity and saltiness.
Finish: Huge salty explosion of brown sugar, vanilla, sour Granny Smith apples, allspice, and a dash of cayenne. This is a big and decimating finish, but in a very different way from the 101. I think I liked the 101 finish slightly better.
Balance, Complexity: Certainly more complex then the 101 especially on the tongue. However, it might not be quite as balanced – meaning the sweetness overpowered the sour. Maybe it is better to say that in the Rare Breed the sweet and sour took turns with solos as opposed to the duet that happened in the 101. All that said, I appreciate both the duet and the solos so I think this will come out ahead because of complexity and a wonderful mouth-feel.
Aesthetic experience: I love the “barrel strength” nature of this beast. However, I don’t love the name, bottle shape or label. Truth to be told, I like the aesthetic of 101 slightly better.
Conclusion: This is a tough one. I actually really like this bourbon . . . but it scores about the same for me as the WT 101 but costs $39.90 plus tax. For that price I would take Elijah Craig Barrel Proof every day (and twice on Sunday). So that is a significant up charge for Wild Turkey that is a little sweeter, and more complex. For my enjoyment level I will probably just stick with the WT 101 (unless I find this at large discount). However, I now am interested in comparing this to ECBP . . . and Stagg Jr.