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Wild Turkey 101 Rye Whiskey Review - The Underloved Brother of Lawrenceburg's 101 Proof Bourbon

Wild Turkey 101 Rye Whiskey Review

I've long enjoyed just about everything from Wild Turkey. As an avid outdoorsman, this is the whiskey my friends and family always take to camp. Bringing the rye alongside the Wild Turkey 101 bourbon gives everyone a great option to switch things up based on how they are feeling. When the cards come out we might start with the rye. After dinner it might be time for the bourbon. At the incredible value that this one sits on the shelf for, you'd be crazy not to have a bottle to explore. But not everyone is as crazy about whiskey as I am, and I get that. Read on to see if this release sounds like something you might like sipping on. Let's go!


Company on Label: Wild Turkey

Whiskey Type: Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: 51% Rye, 37% Corn, 12% Malted Barley

Proof: 101°

Age: NAS (minimum 4 years)

Further identification: This is the shelf release from Wild Turkey, available for around 26 bucks at most stores at the time of writing; it has the updated branding with the embossed glass


Nose: Immediately upon pouring this glass, I can smell aromas of being in a rick house, the perfusive smell suggesting this release spends plenty of time in oak despite the lack of an age statement. Raising the glass to my nose shows off a lovely medley of fruit from strawberry to cherry to lemon. The Lawrenceburg, Kentucky seasons were good to this whiskey. Zesty yet creamy flashes of cardamom, bergamot, grapefruit and tea complete a wonderful opening act. Honey-soaked apricot and mandarin orange are subtle additions before the glass returns to a level oak base. Let's sip.

Returning my nose to the glass shows off a calmer nose-feel full of barbecue notes alongside a smoked cocktail glass, expressed orange peel and classic bourbon vibes. Given this is a barely-legal rye at 51% rye, I don't think many bourbon drinkers could be put off by this one. Late in the glass I find rich caramel tones that soothe the soul. Black pepper, heavy char and raisin notes continue to surprise me as I dig further. The empty glass smells of vanilla bean, vintage oak and lemon frosting.

Palate: At first sip I'm impressed with first the medley of fruit it delivers and then the heft that it carries behind that. The rye manages to drink over proof in a way that the 101 bourbon doesn't. To that end this drinks more like a special occasion bottle rather than a daily sipper. Going back in for another taste shows off lemon peel, peach preserve and passion fruit that comes across juicy and sweet. Earl gray tea, honey and cinnamon build in complex layers to a surprisingly deep, flavorful whiskey. Overall the mouthfeel is buttery and sweet like vanilla cake frosting. Later in the glass some subtleties of pear and nutmeg provide the last bit of depth for this to be thoroughly satisfying. My last sip is easy yet still packed with flavor. Lemon juice, vanilla and crème brûlée tingle on through a long, shimmering finish.


Rating: 4/5

This is classic Kentucky whiskey. At the bare minimum rye content this remains quite drinkable for bourbon enthusiasts, but definitely dares to mix in new flavors that compliment the 101 bourbon release. The next time you pick up a bottle, grab this one alongside it and give it a try. I think you'll like it. The only better rye from Wild Turkey in my book would be drinking it straight from the barrel with Bruce Russell. Perhaps one day!

Wild Turkey 101 Rye Whiskey Review



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