You have to give it to Wild Turkey for covering all the bases in terms of bottle diversity. From 50ml minis to 1.75-liter party handles (and just about every bottle size in between), Wild Turkey 101 can be found at almost any desired size, virtually anywhere. And how many other Kentucky distilleries bottle their flagship straight bourbon whiskey in 750ml PET travel bottles? I’m thinking the list is pretty damn slim.

Thanks to an associate’s keen Turkey hunting skills, I’m now in possession of this literally dusty plastic bottle of Wild Turkey 101 from 2007. Oh, I’m more than curious about how this one will taste, mainly for two reasons: First, it’s been sitting in plastic for no less than ten years now. I’ve had at least one Wild Turkey expression from 2007 – a Kentucky Spirit, and it was hands-down excellent. Would this taste similar? And second, this 101 was likely distilled between 1999-2001, which puts it several years before the change from a 107 barrel-entry proof to a 110 barrel-entry proof (2004).

Might there be a notable difference in profile from the last year or two this label’s design (2010-2011)? There’s only one way to find out. On with the tasting!

Wild Turkey 101 (2007 PET travel bottle) – 50.5% ABV KSBW – no age stated – bottled by the Austin, Nichols Distilling Co., Lawrenceburg, KY

Tasted neat in a Glencairn after a few minutes rest …

Color: copper

Nose: vanilla, musty charred oak, brown sugar, baking spice (cinnamon, nutmeg), toffee, faint herbal & citrus notes

Taste: (like a sucker punch in the mouth) notably spicy vanilla, toffee, oak char, grated cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, slightly fruity herbal/floral notes

Finish: (hot & spicy) very warm & surprisingly long – sweet/spicy vanilla & oak with a touch of maple, slowly diminishing cinnamon, nutmeg & faint clove

Overall:  Wowza! This bad boy is a hot one! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a pour of good ol’ Wild Turkey 101, but I can tell you I’ve never had one this spicy. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. It just caught me by surprise. It’s the kind of spicy note heat you want (not the new make, overly ethanol in nature heat). It’s just a big fat share of heat. I will say, however, after about two weeks now (having emptied 200ml into another bottle) it has opened up and calmed down a little (I should probably stress little).

So how does this 2007 Wild Turkey 101 compare to the 2007 Kentucky Spirit I’d previously tasted? It doesn’t, really. That Kentucky Spirit was from a damn fine barrel with a notably different profile. This Wild Turkey 101 has more in common with a 2010 101 I currently have open. In comparison, I’d say the 2007 has more complexity but the 2010 is more balanced. This started me thinking – maybe bottle conditioning is a real thing? Would this travel 101 been more balanced had it been corked in glass? One can only wonder.

Rating:  3.5/5 🦃