They say Blanton’s is the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.  If that’s so, then what’s the Holy Grail?  Well, Wild Turkey “Cheesy Gold Foil,” of course!  While it may not be my personal favorite Wild Turkey variety of all time, it’s arguably the most recognized and sought-after bottle Pernod’s Austin, Nichols & Co. ever produced. At least for most whiskey enthusiasts, that is.


In the early 1980s, Wild Turkey Beyond Duplication was released as a limited-edition, 101-proof, twelve-year Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.  Unfortunately, the ’80s weren’t the best times for American whiskey.  The “Glut Era” of bourbon was shifting into high gear and sales of Kentucky’s finest were dropping fast.  What on Earth could be done?  Well, the answer came in true ’80’s fashion … totally rad marketing!

Remember Coke blue jeans and Pepsi jackets?  Oh, you know you do!  Need to sell a limited-edition, 12-year bourbon with a bird/game/food as its name?  No problem.  All you need is flashy gold (you know, like the crafty gold foil you used at summer camp).  Brilliant!  But don’t just faux gilt the label.  Oh, no.  We’re going all out on this one.  Wait for it … wait for it … that’s right – a gold tube too!  Genius.

Wild Turkey 101 12-Year (AKA “Cheesy Gold Foil”) – 101-proof, twelve-year KSBW – bottled by the Austin, Nichols Distilling Co., Lawrenceburg, KY

Tasted neat in a Glencairn after a few minutes rest …

Color: deep copper

Nose: (truly amazing) rich vanilla, molasses, antique leather, floral perfume, musty/funky oak, toasted marshmallow, pipe tobacco, ripe citrus, granny’s spice cabinet (cinnamon, ginger, clove, etc.), sweet/spicy musk

Taste: (very unique oily mouthfeel) classic vanilla syrup, cinnamon, pepper, leather, fresh-baked sugar cookie, rich molasses, sweet cream icing, floral perfume, herbal spice, antique musty oak

Finish: beautifully long & full of flavor – spicy vanilla, sweet musk, fading herbal/floral-laced oak

Overall:  Totally awesome! ’80’s jokes aside, how can one not be blown away by this whiskey?  “Cheesy Gold Foil” has almost everything one could want in a special edition bourbon – balance, complexity, maturity, and character.  It’s unique yet welcoming to the palate – like a warm homecoming regardless of how many times you’ve sipped it.

For the record, these notes comprise my first experience with CGF. Even so, it’s almost as if this bourbon’s profile was pre-ingrained in my mind … an instinctive reunion of sorts.  (Near perfection, honestly.)  And while I authored a review of a 1989 Beyond Duplication prior to this 1992 CGF review, it’s important to clarify that I tried CGF before Beyond Duplication.  And in case you’re wondering, they’re nearly interchangeable in class and form.  I’m really not sure if it would be fair to put one before the other.

Do I really need to state a grade at this point? Well then …

Rating:  5/5 🦃

Bottle photo (c) 2016