Before I kick things off, I’d like to offer a big thanks to a fellow whiskey enthusiast for the 2008 Wild Turkey 101 mini bottle I’m reviewing today.  It came as a complete surprise, and a very cool one at that!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the best thing about this hobby is sharing.  Sure, we all appreciate finding a new, uncommon, or interesting whiskey, but it only gets better when enjoyed among friends and associates.

As of today, I’ve yet to review any Wild Turkey expression from a mini bottle.  I’ve had plenty of 1-2 ounce samples poured from standard bottles, but never a formal mini bottle tasting.  They’re just not something I find myself purchasing often, maybe on occasion for traveling or possibly as gifts.  Other than that, I’m just not sure if bourbon kept in a plastic mini is ideal for anything more than short-term.  In the case of this 2008 WT 101, we’re looking at nine years.  That’s quite a bit of time for a bottle lacking a quality seal (note the lower fill level in the picture).

Perhaps a comparison with a more recent mini bottle would prove interesting?  Well, it just so happens that I have a 2015 Wild Turkey 101 mini left over from summer vacation.  While the ‘08 and ‘15 are from different WT profile eras (different entry-proofs, etc.), they’re profiles I know pretty well.  I don’t expect there to be drastic variances from past tastings of WT 101 poured from standard glass bottles, but it’s Turkey, so you never really know.  Surprises could very well be in store!

Wild Turkey 101 (2008) – KSBW @ 50.5% ABV – 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:  (classic WT) honey-maple, vanilla, funky & musty oak, cream cheese icing, caramel, brown sugar, hints of nutmeg & leather, faint citrus

Taste:  (nice mouthfeel) vanilla, caramel, honey-maple, musty oak, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel, leather, hints of herbal & floral spice

Finish:  medium-long – creamy vanilla, caramel, sweet musty oak, nutmeg, orange/cherry, sweet herbal spice

Overall:  No surprises here.  This 2008 Wild Turkey 101 mini bottle is an excellent example of the classic WT profile I know and love.  If there’s any surprise at all, it’s in realizing that the nine years spent in a tiny plastic bottle did little (if anything) to affect flavor.  Sure, the fill level is a bit lower than where it likely started, but I honestly can’t find anything notably off with this bourbon.  Bottom line – it sips as it should.  It’s a bonafide reliable daily sipper and a heck of a deal if found at retail.

Rating:  3.5/5 🦃

Wild Turkey 101 (2015) – KSBW @ 50.5% ABV – 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:  (modern WT) vanilla, toffee, charred oak, nutmeg, brown sugar, grated cinnamon, lightly roasted nuts, licorice, slight “grainy” vibe

Taste:  vanilla, nutty toffee, musty oak, brown sugar, baking spice, faint leather

Finish:  (a touch dry) medium – toffee, caramel, vanilla, oak, baking spice, hints of orange peel

Overall:  No surprises here either.  This 2015 Wild Turkey 101 mini bottle is everything one would expect from modern 101.  It’s not as complex or mature in profile as the 2008, but it’s bold, flavorful, and worth every penny if you’re in the market for mini bottles of 101.  In fact, if I’m aiming for full disclosure, I think I may be enjoying this ‘15 101 mini a pinch more than the ‘16 101 fifth I currently have open.  Go figure.

Rating:  3/5 🦃

In summary:  Wild Turkey mini bottles, while not ideal for long-term storage, seem to be just fine after nine years or so on a retail shelf.  I can’t say that will always be the case, but at least the 2008 WT 101 fared well in this particular tasting.  And honestly, if you see any older label 101 mini bottles you should probably grab a few anyway.  Aside from sipping, they’re perfect for sharing with other Turkey enthusiasts.  As for the 2015 WT 101 mini bottle, it did as well as expected (arguably a little better).  Probably not the best value option if you enjoy Wild Turkey 101 often, but for traveling, gifts, or simple convenience, you should be perfectly happy.