Wild Turkey 101 has a very loyal fanbase and is a staple whiskey in my home. It seems almost every time I’m at my local bottle shop, I see at least one person grab a handle of WT 101. Seems that way, at least. But today’s Wild Turkey 101 is not like yesterday’s … not at all. And it’s not just the age statement that’s missing. The profile, while somewhat similar, is in many ways entirely different. I know that sounds like a contradiction – but for those that have experienced both older and newer Wild Turkey bourbon, it likely makes sense. And spoiler … I wish I had 101 bottles of this stuff.


Wild Turkey 101 – 8 Years Old – 50.5% ABV – distilled by the Austin, Nichols Distilling Co., Lawrenceburg, KY – bottled on/abt 1981

Tasted neat in a Glencairn after a brief rest (I mean, it’s been in a bottle since 1981) …

Color:  appears a much deeper copper than modern 101

Nose: thick vanilla, spicy tobacco, molasses, sweet rolls with icing, funky oak, faint citrus, floral/herbal notes

Taste: (surprisingly complex) clove-tobacco smoke, rye/baking spice, cinnamon bread, antique oak, vanilla, leather, essential oils (kind of like musky perfume, actually) – punchy & rich!

Finish: long/med-long (similar to latter WT 101 in length but more delicate), very pronounced sweet & spicy waves of wonderfulness, hints of tobacco & leather

Overall: I really, really like this bourbon. This is legendary whiskey now, and thanks to this sample, I now know why. I’m searching for a bottle – the profile is that unique. Is it life-changing or “best whiskey ever?” No, but it’s really damn delicious. Such a shame you can’t find this on a shelf any longer – a very solid A.