(Wild) Turkey Surprise
Don't let one bad night from your past be the reason you miss out on a great whiskey.
I love hearing stories about how people end up being whiskey fans. The stories are as varied as the people telling them. My own path started with my dad. He was a Henry McKenna guy from back in the day when drinkers had brands and were mostly loyal to them. Decades later as I started down the whiskey road, Henry McKenna Sour Mash Bourbon was an entry point for me and memories of the smells and smiles are as present today as they were then. If there is a common theme that comes up over and over again in many of the stories I hear, it’s that a bad experience with Wild Turkey turned people off of whiskey for a while. Even if they find their way back to bourbon, they’ll talk of steering clear of Wild Turkey due to that one rough night in their youth.
At a time when two and three year old craft whiskey can command $50+ a bottle, Wild Turkey 101 is still a sub-$25 bottle made up of six to eight year old bourbon.
Maybe because they were young and stupid, Wild Turkey ends up guilty by association if only because it was cheap enough for an inexperienced drinker to afford. That’s a shame because the truth is that Wild Turkey makes high quality, delicious products and is guided by one of the first families of bourbon.
At a time when three year old craft whiskey can command $50+ a bottle, Wild Turkey 101 is still a sub-$25 bottle made up of six to eight year old bourbon. There was even a year recently when some nine year old bourbon made it in because Master Distiller Eddie Russell used most of the eight year old stock for Matthew McConaughey’s Long Branch release. From one recipe, the Russell’s create all Wild Turkey and Russell’s Reserve bourbon expressions including the Master’s Keep releases. They’ve also stuck to a lower barrel entry proof, 115 rather than the maximum allowed 125, which is a more expensive approach but on that yields a better whiskey in their opinion. Non-chill filtered Russell’s Reserve Single Barrels are some of the tastiest bourbon I’ve tried and they are remarkably affordable. Whiskey from this distillery is the definition of quality, born of a history and experience few in the global spirits industry can match. But hey, if you just can’t move past that one, regrettable night 20 years ago, you can leave that $22 bottle of Wild Turkey 101 on the shelf. I’ll be by shortly to get it.