You reckon you’re a whiskey geek?

I should clarify that I am using “geek” in the most positive sense, implying insatiable curiosity, obsessive attention to detail, and unflagging loyalty. So, do you think you have what it takes? I used to believe I was a pretty good candidate for the geek label. I can bore even the most indulgent listeners with lengthy soliloquies about the relative merits of this or that independent bottler. I have hijacked family vacations and business trips on four continents for distillery visits or for poking around in liquor stores, looking for dusty old bottles. My favorite interjection is “Actually…”

But then I came across David Jennings, better known by his blog’s handle “Rare Bird 101.” The name is an allusion to Wild Turkey and one of its signature expressions. David has literally written the book on Wild Turkey; his forthcoming tome “American Spirit: Wild Turkey Bourbon from Ripy to Russell” promises to be a comprehensive dive into the 190-year history of the enterprise. (David asked me to note that he is not officially connected in any way with Wild Turkey or their parent company Campari).

David’s site demands a visit so that you may appreciate the majesty of unfettered, full-frontal geekery. The timeline is a thing of beauty, but it was the bottle codes that made me cognizant of the higher plane on which David (and his Reddit collaborator Kumori) operate. You ain’t no geek, and neither am I. David is to whiskey geeks as Steve Urkel is to, umm… plain geeks.

The most impressive thing, however, is the balance that David brings to his passion for all things Wild Turkey. He strikes chords both intellectual and emotional. He does not slave away, monk-like, in solitary isolation; he shares his whiskey and spends time with friends, and with the Russells. He seems to value human relationships more than this or that obscure bottle.

Wild Turkey has yet to get the full MALT introductory treatment of a potted history; attempting to do so now would be a limp imitation of the substantial body of work already produced by David. Please read his site if you’re curious about the particulars of Wild Turkey’s genesis.

Instead, I have undertaken to assemble a broad spectrum of whiskies that will give our readers a sense of what the range offers today. I have also looped David in for his perspective and insights, which he has generously shared. He will serve as Virgil, guiding my Dante through an experience which I hope will be more Paradiso than Inferno.

I have interspersed our conversation (condensed and edited for clarity) throughout this review

The current Wild Turkey range, according to the official website, comprises 16 expressions (I have disqualified the two flavored “American Honey” liqueurs): Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 101, Rye, 101 Rye, Longbranch, Rare Breed, Kentucky Spirit, Master’s Keep, Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye, Master’s Keep Revival, Decades, Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Old Bourbon, Russell’s Reserve 6 Year Old Rye, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye, and Russell’s Reserve 2002 Release.

The Wild Turkey enthusiasts seem to delight in this variety, comparing expressions with each other and between batches over time. I queried David about what makes this distillery so captivating:

MALT: What drives the endless fascination with Wild Turkey? Is it the batch-to-batch variation and the inherently unique nature of the single barrel offerings and store pick format?
David: I can’t speak for every Wild Turkey fan, but for me it boils down to three primary things. First, and most importantly, I love the various profiles found in Wild Turkey expressions. Second, I find the history and legacy of the brand – particularly the Russells – to be genuine and relatable. Third, I appreciate its underdog status. In my opinion, Wild Turkey is a dark horse.

As for batch and single-barrel variance contributing to my passion: truthfully, I don’t find tremendous differences in relative batches, so long as they’re close in release date. Single-barrel expressions: absolutely. I love the variance caused by Mother Nature. You don’t find that with a lot of brands – particularly brands only pulling from very specific rickhouses/floors for very specific expressions. There’s also a fair share of palletized single barrels from competitors on the wholesale market. What Wild Turkey offers is – in many ways – uncommon.

MALT: What are the biggest drivers of variation from one bottle to another? Is this attributable to batch, rickhouse, position, or barrel, in any meaningfully consistent way?
David: Simply put, rickhouses. Wild Turkey has a variety of rickhouses, both on and off site. They’re unique in terms of construction, elevation, air flow, etc. That means each barrel has even more potential for variance when you consider the vast number of variables. Wild Turkey has one bourbon recipe and one rye recipe. They use a single yeast strain, the same source of grains for each product, the same entry proof (now 115), same cooperage, etc. The only differences you find in modern Wild Turkey are the result of maturation with the influence of Mother Nature and by Eddie batching certain barrels for certain profile goals.

With all that in mind, and with some suggestions from David, I assembled a vertical of seven whiskies from the Wild Turkey stable (coop?). Two are distinct expressions, with the addition of two sets of two and three store picks, respectively. I’ll be looking to discern nuances between expressions, and between barrels within expressions.

I shared samples of these with David, who contributed notes in his own format and scored according to this rubric:

MALT: Tell me about the 0/1/+1 scoring framework you’ve used here, versus the 5-point scale you use on your site?
David: I just wanted to give you the gist of where I felt like it fell on the spectrum per expression. Is this a good spirit, or is this just an OK spirit? I use a 5-point scale, what I call the “Turkey” scale – it’s relative to Turkey expressions. I’m comparing it to my entire mental library of Turkeys I’ve tasted. I’m not comparing it to Stitzel-Weller bourbon from the 80’s. None of that stuff factors in my mind. I don’t think, “Does this taste like Pappy?” I’m not trying to do that. Mine is relative to Wild Turkey. When have a 5 out of 5, I’m saying “This is about the best it gets with Wild Turkey.”

All of these are Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, purchased at retail. All are from the Wild Turkey bourbon mash bill: 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% malted barley. Prices are noted, and all my scores take into account MALT’s price-sensitive scoring bands.

Starting with the entry-level selection, this is Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Bottled at 50.5% (101 proof, see?), the bottle code of LL/HC122326 indicates this was bottled on March 12, 2019, at 11:26 PM. Yes, really. I paid $22 for 750 ml, or expect to pay £28.90 from Master of Malt.

Wild Turkey 101 Proof Bourbon – Review

Color: Medium-light copper

On the nose: Sweetly corny nose, with meaty scents of hot links and earthy notes of morel mushrooms, all painted with an oaky brushstroke of vanilla. Some more time in the glass releases some faintly floral and leafy notes, a whiff of cut Virginia tobacco, the moistly rich sweetness of caramel bundt cake, and a creamy dollop of hand lotion. All of the sudden, there’s Good & Plenty candy. You can’t make this stuff up!

In the mouth: Stern entrance, turning steely at midpalate, with a metallic purity. Finishes long, with a ferric note and more tobacco nuances. Some residual flavors of limestone and sweetly salty peanut brittle. Texturally, quite similar to my old standby favorite Evan Williams Black Label.

Conclusions

This isn’t quite the screaming bargain that Evan Williams is, but it’s a hell of a whiskey, particularly for just over two sawbucks. The nose, especially, is way more intriguing than it has any right to be. In the mouth this mostly performs to standards, which is solid given the low cost. One I’ll be habitually repurchasing as an everyday go-to.

Score: 7/10

David’s Notes: Signature modern WT. Toffee, vanilla, oak char, brown sugar, baking spice (nutmeg, clove), faint herbs & citrus with a long and well-balanced sweet & spicy finish. Score: 1 (meets expectations for the expression).

Moving on to the Kentucky Spirit Label, we’re starting in on the store picks. This is a format that is widely utilized by Wild Turkey. This approach carries with it all the attendant risks of barrel-to-barrel variation. I prompted David on the evolution of this expression:

MALT: Tell me about Kentucky Spirit?
David: Kentucky Spirit used to be a really amazing bottle in many different ways. It had a lot higher-class look to it than it does now. I am warming up to the new bottle style, but I have a real connection to the old bottle style that was iconic. Can you imagine if they changed the Blanton’s bottle? It’s like that. That’s how I felt when they changed the bottle.
MALT: What was the driving factor in that decision?
David: Take a guess.
MALT: Money?
David: Exactly. It was just too expensive to get the glass from Asia, where they were having them blown. They just opted for the Rare Breed bottle. That did not involve the Russell’s whatsoever; that’s all corporate. I said my piece about that and now I’m done with it.

Even the juice itself is not the old Kentucky Spirit. First of all, the entry proof was 107, so you’re bottling at 101. There’s a little six-point difference from barrel entry to bottling proof. If you’re going to call something full proof, it needs to match the entry. It was closer to full proof.

I think they were more selective. Kentucky Spirit starts getting bottled about a year and a half after the age statement gets dropped. They had more choice barrels to make a premium offering. A lot of people think they dropped the age statement just so they could put younger whiskey in it and charge the same price. That really wasn’t it. You can taste Old Number 8, they taste just as good as the 101 8 year. It wasn’t that they were slouching on quality; they were just pulling their more premium barrels and setting them aside for Rare Breed, which came out in ’91. They were setting them aside for Kentucky Spirit, which was a new single-barrel offering, and of course you want to showcase your best barrels.

The demand wasn’t as high as it is now. They didn’t have as many barrels to pick from; the ones they did pick were usually stellar. The ones going to market were a lot more choice than what you have going to market now. The times changed, production starts increasing, a lot more expressions are coming along. Things start changing, profiles start changing. Kentucky Spirit starts changing with that. It starts changing into something that oftentimes reflects the same profile as 101.

So you could buy Kentucky Spirit from 2014, 2015, even now, and you could pour it, and you may end up with something really cool, but you may just be like, “This tastes just like Wild Turkey 101.” You’re paying $60 for a $25 whiskey, in my mind. Because the barrel entry proof increases, because a lot of the choice barrels are going to Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel now, there’s a lot more competition from limited editions like Master’s Keep that they’re having to pull barrels for. They’re kind of cannibalizing themselves. It was the only single barrel offering; now it’s the second-tier single barrel offering. They market it like it’s the top tier one. In my mind: how can you compete with Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel, unless you’re strictly pulling barrels with lower proof, that made it below 110?

I see it both ways. The industry will tell you, “A lot of people are shy of barrel proof bourbon.” Ten years ago, I probably would have agreed. Only a niche really like Booker’s. The average whiskey lover, who is not a geek, they might not like a barrel proof bourbon.

Kentucky Spirit was Jimmy’s creation, Rare Breed was Jimmy’s creation. They do not touch those. Those are kind of a tribute to Jimmy. When Eddie picks the barrels for Rare Breed or Kentucky Spirit, he’s picking barrels that he feels like fit Jimmy’s profile. He said it took him years to figure out what Jimmy’s profile was. Jimmy’s profile preferences are different than Eddie’s profile preferences. When he picks Russell’s he’s picking for him; when he picks Spirit he’s picking for Jimmy.

So, forewarned and forearmed, we’ll be tasting through a pair of selections under the Kentucky Spirit label. The first is a pick from Gene Charness of Warehouse Liquors, who previously sat down with us to explain his philosophy and process.

I spoke to Gene about this pick, and here’s what he had to say:

MALT: How do you think about selecting this expression?
Gene: Ultimately, Kentucky Spirit is going to have a chill filter and is going to be diluted to 101 (proof). When I pick a Kentucky Spirit, what I’m looking for is a certain level of sweetness and richness in flavor, because a chill filter emphasizes both taste and finish, but you’re taking out part of the middle palate by filtration. On what I consider to be a lighter whiskey, I am more inclined toward putting a chill filter on that because it highlights more. What I look for is balance. I want a more elegant whisky to fill the range, something more comfortable in your mouth. It just fits.

In terms of locations, I don’t look at anything. For me, it’s irrelevant where it comes from. I only pick flavor. I kind of let the whiskey talk to me; I try not to go into this with any preconceived ideas of what I want or expect.

This is barrel #19-0036, from Camp Nelson Rickhouse A, rick 29. This was bottled on 5/22/19, at the slightly lower strength of 50.5% (101 proof). I paid $65 for a 750 ml, a +20% premium to what Binny’s is asking for their pick. Supporting my local businessman, innit?

Kentucky Spirit Single Barrel, Warehouse Liquors Pick – Review

Color: Medium goldenrod-inflected orange

On the nose: Eucalyptus, loamy soil, aloe vera, angel food cake, vanilla buttercream, and dry piles of autumn leaves. Some chocolatey notes of confectionery coating as well. A rubbery whiff of latex bandages creep in at the very end.

In the mouth: Starts with the tart but watery sweetness of lemonade. Very dry, almost chalky, on the middle of the tongue. There’s a viscous sense of honey before this coats the back of the mouth with a dull tingle, finishing with a dry powdered sugar note and a very subtle accent of orange blossom.

Conclusions

The nose rewards patient sniffing, with diverse aromas appearing gradually. The palate is understated, a bit much so for my liking. It is all treble and no bass. What flavors evince themselves do so only in whispers through a delicate textural latticework. No flaws, but I find this a merely OK for the price.

Score: 5/10

David’s Notes: Classic & robust. Toasted caramel, vanilla extract, English toffee, charred oak, brown sugar, nutmeg, clove, molasses, black pepper, walnut shell, chocolate orange, licorice & cola with a medium long finish. Score: +1 (exceeds expectations for the expression).

For comparison, let’s consider a nearly identical Kentucky Spirit pick from Binny’s. This is barrel #19-0029, also from Camp Nelson Rickhouse A, also rick 29. This was bottled on 7/29/19, also 50.5% (101 proof). I paid $55 for this 750 ml bottle.

Kentucky Spirit Single Barrel, Binny’s Pick – Review

Color: Same medium goldenrod-inflected orange

On the nose: A bit more lush initially, with a thick scent of orange creamsicle. There’s some woody aromas of dried twigs and a faint stoniness underpinning it all. An exceedingly subtle whiff of white pepper and unripe apricot emerge with some time.

In the mouth: More pert, with a soapy texture on the middle of the tongue. Some butterscotch notes of Werther’s Original candies. Again, leaves a tingly sensation all around the back part of the mouth, with some green vegetal notes and a bit more stone.

Conclusions

Compared with the Warehouse pick, this barrel is less expansive on the nose, but not quite as subtle on the palate. I’m hard pressed to say which one I like more, but I’m scoring this equally based on the lower price. Between the two of these, I’m not sure I’ll be revisiting the Kentucky Spirit label without strong urging from someone in the know.

Score: 5/10

David’s Notes: Somewhat delicate, then “prickly.” Light butterscotch, vanilla spice, caramel drizzle, sweet oak, nutmeg, herbal tea, orange zest, cream soda, ginger & pepper w/ a slightly dry medium finish. Score: 1 (meets expectations for the expression).

Moving on now to Russell’s Reserve. I quizzed David about this, and the preponderance of store picks, and he volunteered his thoughts:

MALT: My colleague Adam once noted that Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel are already single-barrel selections of Russell (father and son). What do you think makes the store picks extra attractive, above and beyond the standard Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel?
David: Eddie selects fairly consistent barrels for the retail version of Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel (bourbon and rye) and Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit. The private selection program provides an outlet for unique and/or off-profile barrels. Vendors and groups like having unique barrels – gives them that “we have something special” touch.

MALT: The Chicago market saw 10 store picks hit the shelves in the last week. Is there any concern about pick sprawl or fatigue?
David: I asked Eddie about this a few weeks ago. One of his Campari distributors was sitting right next to us. Eddie said Campari would take a thousand more barrels if they could (and the distributor agreed), but he also was adamant – that ain’t happening. He’s very particular about which barrels end up in the private selection program and corners aren’t to be cut under his watch. I’m sure Campari respects that and trusts his judgement. It sounds like that particular Chicago store was able to secure a lion’s share of Illinois’ barrel allocation. For reference, I believe South Carolina [David’s home state] was allocated 26 (or so) private barrels this year.

The first of the Russell’s Reserve Store Picks come from my friend George at GNS Market. George noted that this came out of the barrel at 110.08 proof, close to the 110 target, so a minimal amount of water was added.

This is barrel #18-0525 from Camp Nelson Rickhouse F, floor 5 34 1. Like all the Russell’s Reserve releases, it is bottled at 55%. I paid $50 for 750 ml.

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel, GNS Market Pick – Review

Color: Dull, brownish copper

On the nose: Yum. Maple bacon, caramelized fat, ripe tangerine, toasted hot-cross buns slathered with unsalted butter. With some sniffing, earthier notes of damp peat moss, dark pumpernickel bread, and the herbaceous sweetness of black licorice reveal themselves.

In the mouth: Fairly austere at first. A sour burst of freshly-squeezed lemon juice punctuates the transition to the midpalate. There’s a mineral-driven finish here, as well as a slightly stale ashy note. Overall, a surprising contrast to the quite fulsome nose.

Conclusions

This was the lowest-priced of the trio of Russell’s Reserve picks, which puts it about on par with Stagg Jr from a cost perspective. Whereas that was loaded end-to-end with ample aromas and abundant flavors, this starts strong but tightens up meaningfully in the mouth. Considering the strength, this is decent value for money on the bourbon spectrum and warrants a slightly-above-average score.

Score: 6/10

David’s Notes: Robust, complex & layered. Toasted caramel, vanilla extract, sweet & spicy charred oak, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, blood orange, Bit-O-Honey candy, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger beer, licorice, sassafras, chocolate cherries, pepper, herbal spice & leather with a long, layered finish. Score: +1 (exceeds expectations for the expression).

Moving along in the Russell’s Reserve category, we’ve got one from Binny’s recent deluge. This is barrel #19-0033, again from Camp Nelson but this time from Rickhouse A, floor 4. Again this is a 750 ml, bottled at 55%, for which they hit me $60.

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon, Binny’s Pick – Review

Color: Faded brownish-gold.

On the nose: Many scents, all standing apart distinctly. Old books. Dust. Clementines. Chlorine. Freshly-picked, slightly-underripe cherries. Ash tray. Rubber gloves. Charred wood. Menthol. No real rhyme or reason to this.

In the mouth: Again, elements present themselves one-by-one without any logic. Orange juice. Minty fluoride toothpaste. A nondescript stony-fruitiness on the back of the tongue. Lingers a while, with a drying minerality and a subtle hint of pine needles, before a residual burst of cherry cough syrup emerges out of nowhere.

Conclusions

A bit odd. Like that uncanny Blanton’s I had, this is a promenade of discrete, disconnected aromas and flavors. I like this less than the GNS pick and it is 20% more expensive, so I’m shaving points.

Score: 4/10

David’s Notes: Rich & toasty – consistent from nose to finish. Vanilla bean, caramel chews, oak char, sassafras, maple syrup, nutmeg, clove, toasted nuts, spiced apples, crème brûlée, brown sugar & toffee with a medium-long finish. Score: 1 (meets expectations for the expression).

Another pick now from Gene at Warehouse Liquors, this the last of our Russell’s Reserves. Here’s what Gene had to say about this one:

MALT: Tell me about the selection process for this Russell’s Reserve?
Gene: I had a group of samples, six or eight. Eddie is kind enough to pick my samples for me. Ironically, Eddie’s tastes and my tastes in whisky are somewhat polar.
MALT: How so?
Gene: Eddie seems to like a greater extension of wood, stronger flavors, a little more tannins than I do. Jimmy, his father, his palate is closer to what I like. They’re all cask strength, somewhere between 114 and 116 (proof). I don’t pick barrels for any point, trying to accomplish this or that. I just pick the ones that taste the best to me. The 0228, that you got, has more emphasis on the finish; a longer, more interesting finish that just went on with levels of complexity.

Russell’s is interesting because uses 12% barley, which gives you a longer midpalate, and he slow cooks his rye, so you get more taste out of the rye. It shows, too. I think Russell’s has a richness and robust quality that is distinct from any other whiskey.

This is barrel #19-0228, also from Camp Nelson Rickhouse F, floor 5 24 2. Also bottled at 55%, 750 ml of this cost $68, again a relative premium compared with the other two.

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel, Warehouse Liquors Pick – Review

Color: Medium-dark golden-brown.

On the nose: A meadow full of flowers. Salty and meaty smells of ham hock and chicken broth. Pencil eraser and some exotic fruit: guava juice, lychee. Blonde wood; salted homemade caramel.

In the mouth: Spicy throughout. Sarsaparilla to start. There’s some brown sugar notes at the front of the tongue, which broadens out into a rich molasses-like sweetness, but again with a peppery inflection. A hint of yeast before this moves to the finish, where there’s an emergent note of fluoride (again) but little else. This fades the fastest of the three Russel’s Reserve picks, with only a slightly acrid ashiness as a souvenir.

Conclusions

The high point is a unique olfactory profile compared with the others. The palate isn’t bad, but feels less complete and persistent than even the relatively austere pick from GNS. I’m going to rate this a notch above the one from Binny’s, considering the more attractive profile but higher price.

Score: 5/10

David’s Notes: Fruity modern Wild Turkey. Fruity caramel, vanilla candy, sweet & slightly musty oak, confectioners’ sugar, cherry-orange soda, apple peel, hints of citrus zest & pepper w/ a medium-long, slightly dry finish. Score: 1 (meets expectations for the expression).

We’re going to finish off with the highest-proof member of the flock. This is Rare Breed, bottled at barrel proof of 116.8 (58.4%). The Bottle code of LL/HD180009 indicates that this was bottled on April 8, 2019, at 10:09 AM. I paid $43 for 750 ml. You can purchase Rare Breed in the UK from Master of Malt for £52.25, although its a different batch.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed – Review

Color: Dark orangey-auburn.

On the nose: Maple syrup and some exotically woody notes, similar almost to Japanese whisky. Faded old pennies, vanilla bundt cake, fresh spearmint, one of those squeezy bears full of honey, and a faintly smoky whiff of old campfire ash.

In the mouth: Despite being the highest proof, this has the gentlest mouthfeel of the bunch. Opens with a rounded note of polished wood. A cheery burst of candied orange peel and baking spice on the middle of the tongue. Follows-through all the way to the finish with a zesty, fruity, and spicy jet down the center of the tongue. Lingers gently in the throat with a slightly medicinal quality, as well as soothing notes of hot spiced apple cider and black tea sweetened with honey.

Conclusions

My favorite of all the expressions I have tasted. There’s complexity and, while the flavor profile slightly less intense than the single barrels, it’s more refined. Everything here is well integrated, to an extent that makes it feel more comfortable in the mouth despite the higher ABV. If Wild Turkey can produce this quality with consistency, I might have found my new go-to sippin’ bourbon in Rare Breed.

Score: 8/10

David’s Notes: Robust, complex & layered. Toasted caramel, vanilla extract, sweet & spicy charred oak, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, blood orange, Bit-O-Honey candy, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger beer, licorice, sassafras, chocolate cherries, pepper, herbal spice & leather with a long, layered finish. Score: +1 (exceeds expectations for the expression).

Well, that was a quite a ride. What have we learnt? Wild Turkey, under the cautious hands of Russell père et fils, can produce some truly tasty bourbon in both the mass-market format, as well as on a barrel-by-barrel basis. As you can tell, I was especially impressed by the two quite reasonably-priced bottlings (101 and Rare Breed).

That said, the barrel picks are clearly hit and miss. The GNS Russell’s Reserve pick was the highlight, while I don’t feel that the other two Russell’s Reserve picks justify the price premium compared to other offerings out there. It’s worth noting that these latter two releases were nearly sold out a short time after their release, another indication of consumer enthusiasm for store picks generally and the Russell’s Reserve label especially. Kentucky Spirit didn’t really move me, but I can see it being appealing for those desiring a lighter-bodied flavor profile.

More than anything, I came away with an appreciation for David’s single-minded devotion to all things Wild Turkey. As a repository of knowledge and experience, he is unrivalled in his exceedingly narrow field of endeavor. Every great distillery deserves a fan like David, and I am sincerely grateful for his collaboration on this review.

There are commission links within this article but as you can see, they don’t affect our judgement.

CategoriesAmerican
Taylor
Taylor

Taylor's a native of Chicago. After heading to university in Scotland, he graduated from drinking Whyte & Mackay and Coke to neat single malts. He's also a keen fan of Japanese whisky, having visited the country regularly over the last several years, where he was able to assemble a decent collection before prices went batty.

  1. Avatar
    Max Hill says:

    Hello, I recently tasted Maker’s Mark basic bottle – how would you compare Wild Turkey (similar basic bottling) to Maker’s? I really enjoyed Maker’s and want to discover similar tasting American products. I do not like Jim or Jack.

    1. Taylor
      Taylor says:

      Max, I’d strongly encourage you to check out 101. Better aromatics and flavors than Maker’s. Rare Breed is also a real treat. Happy Turkey Hunting!

  2. Avatar
    Andrew says:

    Would have been very interesting to have compared the Kentucky Spirit and Russell’s store picks with the regular release of each. Since you appear to be new to Wild Turkey, it may have clarified if the store pick phenomenon has substance behind it or not.

    1. Taylor
      Taylor says:

      Andrew, had to cap the number of reviews at some point. That’s part of the reason I looped David in; he’s got much of the perspective I lack. I’ve had the standard Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel and there’s definitely a difference with the store picks. Cheers!

  3. Avatar
    Welsh Toro says:

    Wild Turkey Rare Breed continues to fly under the radar. Terrific dram, especially the latest. I came across David on a live stream recently and he is a complete star. Really cool piece Taylor. All the best. WT

  4. Avatar
    Michial says:

    Taylor, I recently discovered your excellent site. Thank you for the reviews. WT 101 is about $20 more per handle than Evan Williams black label or $12 more per fifth. Interestingly Evan Williams bottled in bond is only $3 more than the black label. For the budget minded and constrained person as myself what would you recommend as a daily go to? Thanks.

    1. Taylor
      Taylor says:

      Michial, glad you like the site. There are a number of good budget bourbon options; at current prices, you can (and should) try them all and find out what best suits your tastes! Please let us know what you conclude. Cheers!

      1. Avatar
        Michial says:

        Thank you. I purchased Ezra Brooks 90, Evan Williams Black label and WT 101. I have found while the WT is more money, the higher proof and more complexity of the bourbon justify the price. I think I’ve found my daily sipper. I tried it neat and with a few drops of water. It tastes great both ways.

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