Tag Archives: Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey Longbranch

Today’s tasting is yet another offering from Wild Turkey, Longbranch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Talking Bourbon remembers when you could just buy the fine Wild Turkey 101 and the not so fine 81. Longbranch is described on the Wild Turkey web site as:

“Made in small batches and refined with oak and Texas Mesquite charcoals, this unique process results in an extraordinarily balanced and smooth sipping whiskey.”

Longbranch is a partnership between legendary Master Distiller Eddie Russell and Mathew McConaughey, yeah the actor. Guess he is a Bourbon dude, who knew? Supposedly it was “inspired” by the actor’s Texas roots, hence the mesquite.

Longbranch comes in a nice looking squat corked bottle, aged 8 years and bottled at 83 proof. Longbranch, like most things from Wild Turkey, is mass produced and available pretty much wherever spirits are sold. TB found this bottle at Costco. It sells for around $35 for 750ml and has a mash bill of 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% barley.

Assisting in the review today is Maria. Maria is more of a wine and margarita girl but also likes gin and tonics and occasionally a sip of good Bourbon.


Maria: Strong aromas of butterscotch is the first thing that jumps out at me. After that I pick up scents of smoke, vanilla and spice.

TB: Nothing really stands out, some Rye, corn, caramel, vanilla and a bit of the smoke that Maria got. Also get a faint taste of wood and once ice was added, some citrus.


Maria: Very sweet up front along with cedar. Lesser scents include the butterscotch, smoke and vanilla that I got on the nose. Also, very smooth neat, I usually don’t like to drink any hard liquor that way but this was fine.

TB: Also find this to be very sweet and also taste the smoke and wood that Maria talked about, almost like a campfire. Secondary flavors include pepper, grain and the caramel that I got on the nose. Even further back, a little bit of mustiness.


Maria: Medium with more sweetness and wood.

TB: Medium-long with the same sweetness and wood and a little spice.


Maria: I’m no expert and it lacked the nuttiness that I like in Bourbons, but enjoyed drinking a glass.

TB: A little on the sweet side and not a ton of depth but have to agree with Maria, I enjoyed my glass.

Nose 3.5 out of 5

Taste 8 out of 10

Finish 3.5 out of 5

Total score 15 out of 20 barrels.

Not a bad Bourbon for the price, TB paid $29.99, but nothing you need to rush out and buy. Talking Bourbon was scared this was going to taste like Jack Daniels given the charcoal, and as readers know TB does not like JD. Happy to report that Longbranch in no way resembles Jack Daniels.

Longbranch is best enjoyed neat or with Whiskey cubes. When adding ice you lose some of the aromas and flavors. Longbranch is a little too sweet to make a good mixer unless you just like to add a few drops of bitters.

If a sweet Bourbon is your thing, you should definitely give Longbranch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey a shot. The added smokiness at least sets it apart from other sweet Bourbons.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed

1210                                                             Wild Turkey Rare Breed Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is yet another offering from the Iconic distillery and Master Distiller, Jimmy Russell. Rare Breed is a blend of 6, 8 and 12 year old Bourbons, and as always overseen by Jimmy Russell himself.

Rare Breed comes in a corked, somewhat squatty, bottle that will remind one of an old time milk bottle. It sells in the $40 to $45 range and seems pretty available. The proof varies a little from batch to batch, with most coming in around 108. The bottle we are tasting is 108.2.


Ron:   Strong nose with excellent notes of all my favorites. Caramel, leather, oak, vanilla and plum dominate. Aromas of toffee and tobacco come next. Revisiting the nose after the ice melted, I got a little cocoa aroma (It could be the power of suggestion from Todd, though).

Todd:  Wood, caramel, leather and cocoa upfront. This is followed by slight smells of butterscotch and tobacco. Very, very nice.


Ron:   Too hot neat,  As he took his first sip, I believe I heard Todd say Wow! I needed a couple cubes to melt first before continuing the tasting. After I was able to get the proof down a bit,  the caramel, cocoa, oak, and vanilla that I got on the nose all came through on the taste.  Additionally I got a little pepper, spice and citrus. A very good drink. Also got just a slight bit of bitterness.

Todd:   You can tell this stuff is 108 proof, and I agree with Ron that it needs a few cubes to melt before really appreciating this fine Bourbon. Strong tastes of wood and spice dominate upfront. This is followed by caramel, leather and malt. With cubes completely melted got a touch of vanilla. Also detected the bitterness that Ron noted.


Ron:   Long, warm, slightly bitter finish with hints of honey and clove.

Todd:  Med-long finish with a sweetness turning to a very slight bitterness. Nice burn on the back of the tongue even with melted ice.


Ron:  It’s been a little while, maybe over a year since I last had Rare Breed. Loved it then but was really loving it today! The nose alone knocked my socks off, no really, they are off.

Todd:  Real good, and even though I am a big fan of Wild Turkey 101, I am now a much bigger fan of Rare Breed.

Nose     4.75 out of 5

Taste      9.25 out of 10

Finish     4.25 out of 5

Total Score       18.25 out of 20 Barrels

Maybe it was sitting outside on a nice day, maybe hanging out with a friend, maybe just not being at work when we probably should have been, whatever the reason Rare Breed blew us away.

This Bourbon is a little cost-prohibitive but you could have a fair argument/discussion as to it being twice as good as WT 101 which sells for half the price. For our money it is worth the upgrade. Also remember, Rare Breed is bottled at a higher proof so you are buying less water.

Final thought, rob the kids piggie bank of change if you have to but buy a bottle. You will thank us.

Wild Turkey 101

wildturkey101new750__84431__15333.1358534069.1280.1280                                           Almost an American icon, Wild Turkey 101 has been mentioned or referenced in numerous movies including Mystic River, In The Heat Of The Night and The Color Of Money. It has been said to be the favorite drink of journalist Hunter S Thompson as well as novelist David Foster Wallace. So why does the Wild Turkey brand evoke thoughts of low end poorly made Bourbon? And do these thoughts have any truth? Talking Bourbon is going to find out.

Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey comes in a traditional looking corked bottle with a picture of a turkey to the right of the label. It sells for around $23, is available wherever hard spirits are sold and is bottled at 101 proof.  101 is a blend of 6, 7 and 8 year old Bourbons.

A note on the 101 proof, when Wild Turkey came out in 1941 Bottled in Bond was real big. A Bourbon with the label Bottled in Bond had to be exactly 100 proof, so the makers of Wild Turkey upped their product to 101 to be different. Seems it worked.


Todd:     Classic Bourbon aromas of caramel, toffee and oak. This gives way to rye, and a very slight banana smell.

Ron:     A lot going on with caramel, vanilla and cinnamon upfront. This is followed by aromas of pepper and citrus. Great nose.


Todd:     Nice neat but better with a cube. Nothing jumped out as a dominant flavor, a little bit of caramel, oak, rye and toffee.

Ron:     Very slight tastes on the tongue including oak, and pepper. Not a whole lot going on.


Todd:    Medium to medium-long with a nice sweet burn.

Ron:    Medium-long with a little bitterness.


Todd:     It didn’t overwhelm me with flavors but was a nice drink.

Ron:     Got more on the nose than on the taste. Did not have some of the flavors that I prefer. Remembered this to be better.

Nose     4.5 out of 5

Taste     7.5 out of 10

Finish    4 out of 5

Total           16 out of 20 Barrels

Wild Turkey 101, despite the score, is a decent Bourbon. It’s at a good price point, makes a nice cocktail and is not bad on the rocks.

We both keep a bottle around for our friends who enjoy it and because there is not a lot of good Bourbons at that price point. Also makes for a decent second pour.



Wild Turkey Rye 81 Proof

brbon_wil40                                                             Another day, another tasting of an iconic brand. This time it is Wild Turkey Rye 81. We want to emphasize that this is the 81 proof Rye expression, not the 101 proof Rye.

Wild Turkey Rye comes in the same, very recognizable, corked bottle with the picture of a turkey that the famous 101 Bourbon comes in as well as the 101 Rye and the 81 proof Bourbon. Even though, we must point out, Wild Turkey is in the process of changing all their labels. The picture above is the new label. It Sells for around $20 or under and while not hard to find, it is not as available as the 101 Bourbon.

For us, Wild Turkey has been sort of hit or miss. We have always been fond of the 101 Bourbon, Kentucky Spirit and really like the Rare Breed, but not so much the 81 proof Bourbon or the Forgiven. Where will the 81 proof Rye fall?


Ron:    Big nose of Rye followed by some citrus, anise and cedar. Also got a very slight hint of mint.

Todd:    I also got the Rye up front along with the citrus and even the slight whiff of mint. But from there we split, I got aromas of old leather, smoke, spice and cocoa. I also detected, in a good way, a smell that reminded me of wet stone.

Ron:    Wet stone? like to sharpen your knife?

Todd:   No, like water on a rock.


Ron:   Again, the Rye up front with anise, citrus and mint. Also had a grassy taste and something that reminded me of some sort of medicine from my childhood. I think I got a bit of wet stone that Todd did but not so sure it wasn’t the power of suggestion.

Taste:   Good neat or with one rock, definitely could tell I was drinking a Rye. A smooth clean taste with a little bit of leather nuances. Very enjoyable.


Ron:   Medium finish with a nice sweetness to it.

Todd:    A medium, sweet, almost burnt sugar finish.


Ron:   Great Rye for the price, probably the best inexpensive Rye on the market at a reasonable $20. Makes a great Manhattan.

Todd:   Nice nose while being smooth and tasty on the tongue. I agree with Ron, great Rye for the price. I would mention though, we really liked Rittenhouse Rye as well, and it is in same price range.

Ron:  True, we need to try Rittenhouse again before we can declare a victor.

Nose     4.25 out of 5

Taste      8.5 out of 10

Finish    4.25 out of 5

Total Score        17 out of 20 Barrels.

It looks like Wild Turkey Rye 81 will fall on the positive side of the Wild Turkey Ledger. It is good neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail, and at this price you won’t mind using it as a mixer.

This is also a good beginner Rye if you or a friend have been traditionally Bourbon drinkers and have wanted to get in on the Rye craze. If you don’t like it you won’t be out much.

Recommendation, give it a try, it just might become your new go to drink.

Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit

Wild Turkey, an American brand almost everybody recognizes, or at least every Bourbon drinker. In our younger years we called this The Kicking Chicken or just The Bird. Today we are sampling one of their higher end products, Kentucky Spirit.

This is a single barrel product selected by the legendary Jimmy Russell. Being single barrel, each batch can be a little different. KS comes in a classy corked bottle with scalloped edges that is pretty easy to spot. Bottled at 101 proof, and with a little hunting online, we found that it averages 9 years in the barrel.  Sells between $40 to $55 and is generally available.


Ron:   KS has a nose of caramel, toffee and tobacco. I also got a musty aroma that reminded me of an old boathouse, in a good way.

Todd:  I got the caramel and the slight mustiness as well as spice, cedar, and orange.


Ron:  KS comes  across as a rich, full bodied Bourbon. I tasted the caramel that I got on the nose as well as sweet toffee. And, oddly, a little taste of salt.

Todd:   I did not taste the salt, got more spice and citrus. Thought it was pretty hot neat, really needs water/ice. Once the ice melted, I definitely tasted the caramel plus a little wood.


Ron:  Medium to long finish that was similar to the taste. A pretty hot finish neat.

Todd:   I agree with Ron on the heat and getting mostly the same on the finish as I did on the taste. The only thing I would add would be a slight pepper finish.


Ron:  This is a fantastic Bourbon, I need a bottle in my cabinet.

Todd:   Well I have one in my cabinet, lol. I also find this a very good drink. I have to say though, Ron liked it better than me.

Nose    4.5 out of 5

Taste     9 out of 10

Finish    4 out of 5

Total Score    17.5 out of 20 Barrels

We both liked Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit a lot. The only thing holding back the score was the finish, and that is not to imply the finish was bad, just not much going on. We would recommend using ice or water to take off some of the heat as well as bringing out some additional flavors. The heat and spice lends itself well to traditional Bourbon cocktails.

We know the price is a little high, but the taste and the presentation make it good bottle for special occasions.