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Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey 101° Kentucky
Straight Bourbon Whiskey


By Robert Plotkin

The world has developed a serious thirst for bourbon and it's little wonder why. Our indigenous whiskeys are loaded with big complex flavors and the most captivating aromas in the business. Top-shelf bourbon is elegant and assertive without being pretentious or overbearing, and best of all, bringing one home doesn't cost a week's paycheck. To appreciate what the big attraction is, belly up to the bar and take a few sips of Wild Turkey 101° Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. It best exemplifies all of these qualities.

In 1855, the Ripy family established what would become the Wild Turkey distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Forty years later their bourbon was selected out of 400 to represent Kentucky at the 1895 World's Fair. By the end of the 1940s, Wild Turkey 101° Bourbon had become a global brand.
Despite its iconic status, Wild Turkey crafts its whiskeys using traditional methods long abandoned by others as too costly or labor-intensive. The bourbon is distilled from a mash bill containing at least 51% corn, along with rye, malted barley and limestone-purified spring water. It's aged a minimum of 8 years in new, deep-charred, white oak barrels from the Ozarks.

A significant point of distinction between Wild Turkey and most of the whiskeys in the category is the expensive practice of distilling its whiskey to a relatively low proof. As a result, the bourbon is around 109 proof when comes out of the barrel and thus little water is added to reduce it to the bottling strength of 101 proof. It's one explanation for the bourbon's full, rich character.

Wild Turkey 101° is stylish and sophisticated, a benchmark American whiskey. It has a lush medium-weight body and a huge bouquet of vanilla, leather, chocolate and honey. The nose alone is worth the price of admission. The bourbon is brimming with the warm, sumptuous flavors of caramel, honey, vanilla and raisins. Those not completely captivated by the whiskey's lavishly endowed palate are likely not from this planet. The finish is lingering and slightly spicy. Guaranteed 50.5% alcohol never went down so silky smooth.

In 1974 the distillery introduced Wild Turkey 80° Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. It too is distilled from at least 51% corn, along with rye and malted barley and then barrel-aged in new, deep-charred, white oak.

In short, Wild Turkey 80 proof is an unpretentious, thoroughly enjoyable whiskey. It has a light velvety body and a generous bouquet saturated with caramel, vanilla, leather and dark chocolate. The whiskey quickly fills the mouth with warmth and the bakery-like flavors of caramel, molasses, honey, dark fruit and loads of vanilla. The long finish features added spice and a hint of toasted oak.

Both expressions of Wild Turkey epitomize what's so luscious about American whiskey and once again prove that when you buy quality you'll never be disappointed.