Ah, dusty Wild Turkey. Does it get much better than old, dusty Turkey? Not really. I’ve passed on some nice bottles this year solely to fund my mission of acquiring as much older Wild Turkey as I can. In fact, I’m slightly hesitant to post this review as it may decrease my chances of finding additional bottles. I kid. I love the bourbon community and sharing is what we’re all about. It’s surely best part of our hobby.

Somewhere on some Kentucky day in 1991, this bottle was filled and corked. By the time I hit college it was likely sitting on a shelf just waiting for some old patron, or perhaps some frat boy, to buy and enjoy. But this bottle had a different destiny. It eventually ended up in California (for who knows how many years), and then to my cozy little home here in South Carolina.

Arrival day … I knew the dangers of old Wild Turkey corks and was prepared. Luckily, the cork came right out with a musical “pop,” though it disintegrated in my hand immediately afterwards. The spirits of Austin and Nichols were with me – shining down in great splendor as I poured my first dram. A wonderful smell filled the room (I swear I heard angels singing in glorious union with Carolina wild turkeys and their “gobbly gobble gobble” song). Tears streamed down my face and … okay, enough. On with the tasting!

Wild Turkey 101 – 8 Years Old – 50.5% ABV KSBW – “distilled in Kentucky,” bottled by the Austin, Nichols Distilling Co., Lawrenceburg, KY

Tasted neat in a Glencairn after (what seemed like an eternity) of a few minutes rest …

Color: (very dense appearance) dark honey/copper

Nose: tobacco, oak, leather, rich vanilla, caramelized sugar, hints of herbal & floral/rye spice

Taste: (very thick/rich mouthfeel) sweet & savory honey, vanilla, maple, leather, baking spice (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg), a pinch of herbal/rye notes

Finish: long and full of satisfying warmth – waves of maple syrup & rich honey (really sits on the palate for quite some time)

Overall: In case you can’t tell, I love this whiskey. This, my friends, is what everyday bourbon should taste like (and very well did at one time).

When people say glut era bourbon is a world away from what we find now, they’re often right. Is this as excellent as the 1981 Wild Turkey 101/8 bourbon I recently reviewed? No, but it’s pretty close. Is it as excellent as the coveted 12-year bottles like “Cheesy Gold Foil” or Beyond Duplication? No, those are unique and have more intense floral/herbal notes (very special pours, in my opinion). Dusty Wild Turkey 101/8 is a better daily in my opinion – full of honey, tobacco, leather, and vanilla. It’s a shame it’s not around any longer, at lease domestically. It’s also a shame that Russell’s Reserve 10-year can’t bump up to 101 proof, but that’s another story for another day.

Rating:  4.5/5 🦃