Wild Turkey 101 is the best known and probably best loved whiskey in their core range. I've reviewed their Rare Breed and Russell's Reserve bourbons before and wanted to see what their more humble sibling was like.
The distillery was founded in 1869 by the Ripy brothers and passed through a number of hands until it was bought form Pernod Ricard by Campari in 2009. The image of the brand has been improving since the mid-1990s, as higher end releases such as Kentucky Spirit, Rare Breed, and Russell's Reserve have been added to the basic 81- and 101-proof bourbons and ryes.
Nose: ripe berries and vanilla ride over a grainy core of hot breakfast cereal along with a hint of mustiness or dustiness. After adding a few drops of water, the nose becomes a bit less sharp, with the balance shifting towards the grain
Taste: begins slowly with a bit of corn sweetness, sweet berries build from mid-palate where they are joined by growing chili pepper heat, and a bit of baking spices and oak. After dilution the palate becomes sweeter throughout and just a bit flatter, with some emerging yeastiness and cacao
Finish: lingering burn, savory chili pepper heat, residual berries and oak. After adding water, the cacao carries through into the finish, giving it just a ting of bitterness
There isn't necessarily a lot going on here, but what it does it does magnificently. Especially coming from a mini, which sometimes have quality issues, I really enjoyed this bourbon. The raspberry/chili pepper combo was excellent and while I felt like it lost just a bit of oomph after adding water, the extra notes of cacao more than made up for it. Overall, I would highly recommend this whiskey, especially if you want something a little bit lower on the price scale.
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