Whiskey Review: Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon

, | August 20, 2015

Wild Turkey 101

image via Wild Turkey

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a free sample to review by the party behind it. The Whiskey Wash, while appreciative of this, did keep full independent editorial control over this article.

Featured in countless movies, TV shows, and books, Wild Turkey is an institution among whiskey drinkers. The turkey logo, intricately detailed bottles and lengthy history have created a memorable image and have attracted many fans to the bourbon. Based in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, the Wild Turkey brand has been operating since 1940.

Although a popular stereotype insists that Wild Turkey crafts a product that is more renowned for its low price rather than its high quality, Wild Turkey 101 does a good job of countering that fallacy. It has a distinctively spicy and exciting flavor, and contains an impressive range of tastes.

Named for its proof, Wild Turkey 101 approximates the color of dark amber, with a strong woody scent mixed in with caramel, toffee and cinnamon.

As soon as the bourbon contacts the palate, the redoubtable spicy tang is the first noticeable quality. It arrives hot and sharp, a consequence of mixing bourbon aged for an average of eight years. All the time spent aging has paid off in the form of the rich color and vibrant taste. The bourbon spice melds with cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. The mixture of corn, rye, and barley malt comes together to offer a wealth of flavors. What is less obvious later, however, is the current of wood flavor extracted from the oak barrels used to age the bourbon. Drinkers wishing to have more of the oak taste can release it by adding some water to the whiskey.

For those who dislike a lot of sharpness in their drinks, Wild Turkey may not be an ideal choice. However, most people will get used to and gradually enjoy the tanginess. There is a slight burn in the mouthfeel, but the overall impression is still relatively smooth. The taste lingers for a while after drinking, which is a good sign.

People who are skeptical of Wild Turkey’s ability to make good bourbon would do well to try this one out. At 101 proof, it packs something of a punch, and has more taste and vigor than a number of other whiskies. The price of one bottle ranges in the $20s, making it an affordable choice. It is very reasonable for a decent whiskey. For too long, many people have dismissed this brand as cheap and inferior. Checking out Wild Turkey 101 should help remedy that mistaken belief.

Overall I give this whiskey a rating of 85.

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Derek Sun

Derek Sun hails from hot and dry Los Angeles and currently enjoys living in cold and rainy Portland. He taught himself to appreciate whiskey through many glasses and a few hangovers, and is always trying out new drinks around the world.