Wild Turkey 101 is a staple in my home. From cooking to cocktails, or simply as a daily sipper, WT 101 gets it done. It’s not fancy and it’s not subtle – it’s a bold and somewhat brash higher-proof KY straight bourbon whiskey and need not apologize for it. I only wish it tasted the way it once did so many decades ago. That said, some folks think that the WT 101 bottled now is a step above the prior two labels. Unfortunately, and in my honest opinion, it is not. In fact, I conducted a blind comparison not too long ago to test this hypothesis. Putting that tasting behind me, and secretly hoping I may have been wrong, I decided to review the same 2016 bottle of WT 101 on its own to see how it might fair on another night. And the results follow …
Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (2016 bottle stamp and label) – 50.5% ABV – no age stated – rumored mash bill of 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% barley – distilled and bottled by the Wild Turkey Distilling Company, Lawrenceburg, KY
Tasted neat in a Glencairn after a few minutes rest …
Nose: sharp vanilla, toffee, peanuts, slight grain, funky oak, faint spice
Taste: vanilla extract, funky peanuts, toffee, wet oak, hints of baking spice
Finish: medium/med-short, spicy (“tingly”) vanilla, somewhat grainy
Overall: Well, about as I expected. Today’s Wild Turkey 101 is a mere shadow of its 1980’s and 1990’s self, and sadly, a notable step down from its mid/late 2000’s releases as well. Still, it’s a tasty bourbon with a unique profile and character. Uncompromisingly bold and never lacking in originality, WT 101 is near to my heart and always within reach. This bottle gets a C+.