Wild Turkey 101 is a staple in my home. From everyday sipper to cooking and cocktails, 101 gets it done. It’s not fancy; it’s not subtle. It’s a bold and somewhat brash higher-proof Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey and need not apologize for it. I only wish it tasted the way it once did decades ago.
That said, some folks believe that the Wild Turkey 101 bottled now is a step above the prior two labels. Unfortunately, it’s not (at least not yet). 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 101 on its own to see how it might fare on another night. The results follow …
Wild Turkey 101 (2016) – 50.5% ABV – no age stated – rumored mash bill of 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% barley – distilled and bottled by the Wild Turkey Distilling Co., Lawrenceburg, KY
Tasted neat in a Glencairn after a few minutes rest …
Nose: sharp vanilla, toffee, toasted nuts, slight grain, funky oak, faint spice
Taste: vanilla extract, “funky nuts,” butter toffee, wet oak, hints of baking spice
Finish: medium-long & grainy – “tingly” vanilla, caramel, diminishing spice
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, Wild Turkey 101 is near to my heart and always within reach.
Rating: 2.75/5* 🦃
*Rating adjusted by .25 in accordance with my revised rating scale (effective 7/31/2018)