This is going to be the first in a series of reviews from minis that I picked up from the voluminous shelves of The Party Source. Seriously, if you want minis, they've got tons of 'em.
I've reviewed a couple of Wild Turkey products before from their offshoot Russell's Reserve line, both the 10 year old bourbon and 6 year old rye. I liked the bourbon more than the rye, so this made me rather interested to try WT's higher proof Rare Breed expression. Since the minis were only $2.50 a pop, I got two, which means that I got to spend a bit more time with the whiskey than I usually do when reviewing from minis.
Nose: light brown sugar with a burnt tinge to it, super smooth caramel, pastries, yeast, strong berries, a little grassy, vanilla, and some floral notes. After dilution, the nose becomes a bit mustier, with corn and grain become more recognizable, but not assertive, rich caramel and vanilla with a hint of rye.
Taste: bubblegum sweetness with an acidic edge, kind of like raspberries or slightly under-ripe blackberries, then caramel or toffee in a dry-ish mode, segueing into big pepper, a bit of rye grain, and bitter oak. After a few drops of water, the taste becomes a little more subdued with less acid attack and slightly softer pepper.
Finish: bubblegum returns under pepper and heat, with some caramel and berries.
At times, this bourbon reminded me very favorable of a good single malt whisky, with the strong berry and floral flavors. However, while the usual caramel and grain of bourbon were someone reserved, it remained a distinctly American whiskey. The higher (54.1% ABV) proof is definitely present, but I feel like it's sufficiently balanced to not be a hindrance while drinking it straight. And if you do want to bring down the proof a bit, it doesn't fall apart like some whiskeys do. All in all, a really great effort from Wild Turkey. It's an excellent whiskey at a very reasonable price. Coming up, I'll be reviewing their standard 101 bourbon, so it'll be interesting to see how they compare.