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.

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