Review: Wild Turkey 81 Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

Virgin Charred Oak
~51% Rye, 37% Corn, 21% Malted Barley
Distiller Wild Turkey (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)

American straight ryes are slim pickings in Ontario, and they’re pretty hard to find under 40$. This is pretty well the best you can do. The whiskeys blended into the product are between 4 and 5 years old.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2014

Nose: Fruity, with apricot, apple (like slightly old golden delicious), light menthol, vanilla, and a bit of a dank and sour smell. Corn is still quite present, and seems to have more presence than the rye, seemingly. There is a light, dusty bitterness coming through – but this is light and I only notice it at times. It’s a bit creamy, too.

Taste: Slightly sweet and oily, with a good vanilla and spicy backdrop which has a hint of coffee- and the mint note is retained from the nose. There’s still quite a kick of corn in this one, which often puzzles me about American straight ryes – I usually want a lot more rye than corn if I am drinking a straight rye.There’s a nice grainy and spicy finish, where the rye really just takes off but the corn also retains a firm grip.

Finish: Quite sweet on the finish, with some mint and black tea and cayenne pepper. It’s light, and a bit cleansing, for nice effect. The oak shows up slightly, and there is some mossy earthiness present. It’s also a bit dry, which doesn’t actually help this one, I think. Some nice fruity rye stays on the background as well, with some vanilla, which is nice.

Decent, although it is overall a bit flat and I want a bit more of what it is doing. I think the profile could handle an upping of the spice, which is why, I imagine, I would enjoy the higher proof version of this one more.

Value: It’s not expensive, so perhaps fits into the average category - but I don’t quite like this stuff enough. So, it’s in the low category for me.