...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Bourbon and Rye Day Friday: Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, barrel 176 for Cleveland Bourbon Club

Are you still full from Thanksgiving or are you chewing on a cold drumstick as you read this? Well, how about a serving of Wild Turkey, the most relevant whiskey for Turkey Day? Though there's also that viski Tekel distills in Ankara...which is the capital of Turkey. Man, this intro is crap.

I had the pleasure of obtaining a bottle from a Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit single barrel purchase by the Cleveland Barrel Club. My bottle was promptly opened but has not been drained terribly quickly. At the time of typing, I'm still not at the midpoint of the bottle. But it's time for a review!

I only realized yesterday that the bottle's frilly ribbing
was meant to depict a turkey's tail feathers. I'm slow.
Brand: Wild Turkey
Owner: Gruppo Campari
Distillery: Wild Turkey Distillery
Location: Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
Mash Bill: 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% barley
Age: 8 years 8 months
Bottling date: September 8, 2016
Barrel #: 176
For: Cleveland Bourbon Club
Alcohol by volume: 50.5%

The nose starts out very woody, with ashy wood smoke, sawdust and tree bark. Slight vegetal note, with soy sauce underneath. LOTS of corn chips. Fryer oil meets dijon mustard. The palate is also woody, but less so than the nose. It's very minty with lemon and a slight medicinal tinge. Some low rumbling rye. Hints of raspberries, almonds and hazelnuts. The finish is very tannic and drying. But it also has substantial notes of raspberries and cherries. Some more lemon and a peppery tingle. Long and sweet.

WITH WATER (~40.5%abv, from 101 proof to 81 proof)
The nose has softened considerably. Some barrel char. A little bit of rye and mint. Slight manure note. Not much else. The palate has also gotten milder, but has a good herbal bitterness to it, meeting up with the corn sweetness. Still has some of that berry fruitiness. It finishes with barrel char, cherry-flavored cough syrup and cracked black pepper.

AS A HIGHBALL (1:1 ratio and few shakes of Angostura bitters)
It performs best here. The spices from the bitters meets well with brown sugar and fruit from the bourbon. A good drink. I've enjoyed it two nights in a row.

I struggle a little bit with Wild Turkey's products. I do not like their 81 proof bourbon and rye, nor their regular 101 bourbon. But I like Rare Breed and all the Russell's Reserve whiskies. This one sits somewhere in the middle. Its strange nose might be kind of cool if not for the aggressive wood. The palate is pretty decent, especially when the fruit appears. As with the rest of their whiskies, I don't recommend proofing it down to 40.5%. But BUT it works very well as a highball, which I'll probably be using it for going forward.

Availability - Exclusive to the Cleveland Bourbon Club
Pricing - sold out
Rating - 80 (bonus points for the good highball)