Wild Turkey: Bourbon at Its Most Versatile

A robust yet balanced whiskey, Wild Turkey never disappoints. Full of flavour, this bourbon is delicious when neat, smooth on the rocks and amazing in cocktails too. Truly counted as one of the best commercially available sub-premium bourbons. 

Legend has it that not a drop of Wild Turkey is bottled unless it is aged at least five years. Even the tin-clad, wooden houses have managed to withstand the test of time allowing maximum interaction between wood and bourbon since the 1890s. It is this heritage that makes Wild Turkey hallowed among whiskey drinkers. This bourbon has many fans, thanks to the quirky turkey logo, intricately detailed bottle and a history that dates back to the nineteenth century. Based in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, the Wild Turkey brand has been operating since 1940.

The history

Touted as the longest-tenured active master distiller of the world, Jimmy Russell stands as custodian of a tradition that dates back generations. Known as the Buddha of Bourbon among connoisseurs, his craftsmanship embodies the essence of America’s native spirit. His son Eddie Russell joined Wild Turkey and in 2011 he created a new blend called Wild Turkey 81. He was promoted to master distiller recently and Eddie and Jimmy are the only active father-son duo in this field.

The craft

The flagship Wild Turkey is distilled at significantly low proof to incorporate all the barrel flavours as they age. It is out of the barrel at around 109 proof requiring only slight dilution before being bottled at 101 proof. As a result of this the final product, though not barrel proof, is very similar to what came right out of the barrel. The brand also uses the heaviest char for their barrels giving the whisky its distinct colour and aroma.

The flavour

The flavourful bourbon has a strong blend of toffee and caramel. The base layer is composed of spice and vanilla with additional layers of toasted oak and butterscotch. ​You will also get sweet notes of vanilla, maple, and cinnamon nicely contrasting with oakiness, spice, and char. The brand seems to excellent in balancing flavours and keeping keeping the sweet/spice relationship in check. Known for their high-rye mashbill, Wild Turkey manages to keep the tradition alive even in their “budget” bourbon, the boldness never absent.

There is a slightly dry aftertaste after the medium-length biting finish gives way. The alcohol taste is more evident in Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon than the other brands.​

The 101 proof expression is Wild Turkey's most well-known bourbon and their flagship brand. While they also produce an 80 proof version, it’s the 101 proof expression that immediately comes to mind when Wild Turkey is mentioned. This higher-than-normal proof for a standard bottle has probably become this bourbon's most renowned attribute.

The factors of high proof, affordable price, and beautiful flavours are what make Wild Turkey so beloved among followers . High proof and flavour balance make it a great bourbon to sip on, something uncommon in this price range. Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, the single barrel version of 101, is a superior representation of the Wild Turkey flavor profile, although with a heftier price tag.