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

Virgin Charred Oak
~75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Distiller Wild Turkey (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)

his whisky is produced by Wild Turkey, a distillery near Lawrenceburg, Kentucky and home to the longest tenured master distiller in the world (in Jimmy Russel). This whisky is aged 6-8 years in heavily charred oak barrels, after being distilled to a proof of 62.5% and then watered down to 55% to be put into the barrels. This level is relatively low, but it is utilized by Wild Turkey because they say it retains more flavour.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2014

Nose: Light and fruity, with plums, peaches, caramel, apples, light corn husk aromas, mint, daisies, and some creamy vanilla notes, and a very light oakiness. At times, a light bitterness comes out – but this seemed to be present at the beginning, and it fades relatively quickly. There’s an interesting quality in the corn in the nose – it is making me thirsty – it seems juicy and sour and very enticing me to drink. However, with all that, the nose is well crafted but a bit flat.

Taste: A fairly soft entry before the fruity, slightly sour, corn notes take off with a lingering spicy finish of cinnamon and clove. There’s a nice rye backdrop and a touch of mint. The fruitiness is retained in the palate, and the balance is such that it has lots of flavour but still seems light rather than too intense. Oak shows up on the finish, otherwise fairly absent in this bourbon.

Finish: Slightly sour, with a little kick of spiciness – the same cinnamon, nutmeg, apples, and slight clove which was in the taste and some light dried apricot. The spice has a nice kick – sometimes I think it is a bit too dry which gives a nagging effect. A bit of mossy oak comes through, as well.

Value: It’s not expensive, but I don’t like this enough to give it anything higher than a low rating. Not my kind of bourbon. The 101, though, is a huge step up.