Rare Breed Rye
Finally some good news for 2020: Wild Turkey Rare Breed Rye has hit shelves! Granted, the release is very limited at first so we had to do some extra work to get our hands on a bottle, but it’s here and we’re sipping. Talk about a release that has been very highly anticipated by folks in the Wild Turkey fan club…fan flock? Enough dad jokes. Let’s have a look!
If you’re a fan of Wild Turkey, you have very likely visited the blog from our good friend David Jennings, aka RareBird101. He has long-since been saying that his beloved brand, Wild Turkey, needs to release more barrel strength non-chill filtered whiskey for their rapidly expanding fan base. In fact, DJ posted this on his website as the second highest item on his “Wild Turkey Wish List” in January of 2018:
I originally considered typing only two words for this item’s discussion … “mic drop.” But seriously, do I really need to twist your arm to get you on board with this one? Traditionally, Wild Turkey Rare Breed (KSBW) has remained a blend of 6, 8, and 12-year-old whiskeys. With rye typically more palatable at a younger age than bourbon, I honestly don’t see how a blend of 6, 8, and 12-year-old straight rye whiskeys could go wrong. And at barrel proof? I’ll ask again – do I really need to twist your arm with this one?
Barrel strength rye that is non-chill filtered. Hmmm. No, DJ, you most certainly won’t have to twist my arm! Let’s have a pour.
Nose – Big. This rye reaches right up to say hello, and it does it with caramel and fruit. Digging deeper the citrus that (for me) tends to come through as a deep orange in most Turkey products is showing up as a much brighter lemon note. Really interesting and fruity and spicy all at the same time. There is spice in there, but it’s noticeably different than, say, Wild Turkey 101 Rye. This is dark rich pepper spice and it mixes very nicely with the sweet wave of caramel and that brighter citrusy note.
Taste – Well hello! Wow. This is Rare Breed through and through. This turns up to 11 and does it immediately. There’s an outstanding mouthfeel here unlike any Wild Turkey product I’ve had as of this post. I’d go as far as to call the palate luxurious. There’s nice sweet vanilla that quickly turns into what I can only describe to you as Fruit Loops cereal. Bright, fruity, and sweet. Then the pepper comes in, and comes in with full force. This is a flavor roller coaster ride, and I mean that in a great way.
Finish – As the velvety and striking mouthfeel slowly gives way into the rest of this sip I feel like the roller coaster stops but the ride hasn’t ended. Most certainly a long finish by my measure. I can continually get waves of sweet brown sugary caramel that mix with citrus and some oak shows up to the party as well. Finally that big spicy pepper bomb takes over–and then it’s a lather, rinse, repeat of this finish.
Bourbon Finder Grade: A-
Well in all honesty this exceeded my expectations. While WT101 Rye is effectively The Bourbon Finder HQ’s House Rye, I wasn’t sure if Rare Breed Rye coming in about 11 proof points higher was really going to be a huge difference, NCF or not. While the product isn’t age-stated, there is rumor that the product is a blend of 4, 6, and 8 year rye. Combined with being barrel strength and non-chill filtered (which seems to make a very noticeable impact on the mouthfeel of Wild Turkey products) this is a total winner of a whiskey. There will always be a spot on The Bourbon Finder shelves for Rare Breed Rye.
Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we’re excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is, so our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible–as such–we decided that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us (and didn’t accurately showcase variability in taste from day to day). We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because we feel it is indicative of the whiskey’s grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a “B” today may very well be a “B+” or even a “B-” on another day, so rather than focusing on a precise score today that may not stand the test of time, we are just sharing our overall grade of that pour for that one tasting. Pour a bit and enjoy, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!