Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon

Time and time again I am asked to recommend a good everyday bourbon that is both available, and budget-friendly. It’s impossible to host a conversation around the aforementioned topics without Wild Turkey being mentioned; however, every time I make this recommendation it’s met with laughter or outright refusal due to the misconception that Wild Turkey bourbon is somehow an inferior product due to preconceived notions about its inherent quality. Perhaps we can clear the air and see exactly what this product is all about it. Is Wild Turkey 101 the best budget bourbon on the shelf that many folks are leaving alone because they don’t understand it? Let’s take a closer look.

Author

John H.

CATEGORY

Review

POSTED ON

September 30th, 2021

SOCIAL

TheBourbonFinder

I should first mention that this review comes to you today as a specific request from the audience.  I appreciate any and all feedback in terms of my content, and in what you (the reader) would like to see on here.  Please reach out to me via Email or Discord if you’d like to discuss bourbon, request reviews, or anything else.

If you’ve spent time cruising the content here on The Bourbon Finder you are likely familiar with Rare Breed Rye being my Whiskey of the Year for 2020.  I am a fan of many things from the Wild Turkey Distillery and it’s only right that we talk about Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon today.

Few folks describe Wild Turkey bourbon quite so well as the brand itself, so here’s a quick excerpt from their website:

For over 60 years, Wild Turkey has been making 101 the same way, the right way. Aged in American White Oak barrels coated in the deepest alligator char, Wild Turkey 101 has an impossible-to-miss character.

Its high rye content and the 101 proof makes it a most flavorful Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey that carries a bit of a pleasant bite to it – making it highly enjoyable neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail.

wildturkeybourbon.com

While I give Wild Turkey plenty of credit for knowing their product and being able to market it nicely, I would be remiss for not mentioning my good friend–and Wild Turkey superfan–David Jennings.  David is a renowned blogger, reviewer, and author of all things Wild Turkey.  You can read his expert Wild Turkey reviews on RareBird101.com and check out his books on WildTurkeyBook.com if you’re looking for the absolute best information on this iconic brand/distillery.

Tasting Notes…

Nose – Light oak and a touch of nutty vanilla.  Reminiscent of pecan and hazelnut desserts.  There’s a nice brown sugar and toasted orange note in the background.

Taste – First and foremost, I really dig this.  There are more layers here than you might expect for just a hair over $20–this moves from a light caramel and vanilla beginning to a touch of pecan pie and praline with a medium oak backbone.

Finish – A medium finish here that does just about everything right.  This moves from brown sugar and sweet classic bourbon profile to a balanced spice cake and a touch of orange zest.

Bourbon Finder Grade: B-

Final thoughts…

Let’s just get this out of the way: Wild Turkey is not just redneck whiskey.  I hate that it needs saying–but I recognize that it does–this is a great product that can be found everywhere from California liquor stores to gas stations in Maine.

If you are looking for a tasty and affordable bourbon you will struggle to do much better.  In fact, I could see this being just about the perfect house bourbon to keep in your bar.  This really is one of the more versatile offerings on the shelf.

At just a hair over (or even under) $20 in most markets, this represents a very tough to beat value.  I think Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond, Buffalo Trace, Old Grand Dad Bottled-in-Bond, Four Roses “Yellow Label”, and perhaps Fighting Cock are among the top contenders in this price bracket…and I’m not sure which would win in a blind.  Perhaps that’s a topic for an upcoming episode of Weekly Whiskey

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!

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