Georgeís Rants & Raves: Wild Turkey 81

By: George Brozowski

Go figure, another new Wild turkey just trotted across my desk, Wild Turkey 81. What are those good old boys in Lawrenceburg Kentucky doing anyway? They already have a hand full of Bourbons ranging in price from $30.00 all the way up to $100.00, and now, they have whipped one up retailing for an astonishingly low $19.99. Wassup with that?

As Iím sure you already know, if youíre a bourbon fan, their stuff rocks. It is all made from limestone filtered water and corn, barley and rye, and magically fermented with their own yeast that they absolutely refuse to speak about. They then distill all this to low proof so they donít have to dilute it down to achieve the desired final proof. Then some is aged oak for 6 years while others 7, 8 and 10 with the great grandaddy of them all coming in around 14 years. Some are small batch, others single barrel, and the rest a blend of the best.

So why Wild Turkey 81? As Eddie Russel, who whipped up this hooch explains, Wild Turkey had a lot of great sippiní whiskey but didnít have a good mixiní whiskey. Now, I get this philosophy right off. When it comes to other spirits like vodka and cognac, I usually keep the high end super premium stuff for sipping straight and would never even consider making a mixed drink with it. For that, I keep some less expensive stuff around since all the other ingredients will generally dilute the taste and diluting the taste of a $100.00 bottle of anything just plain and simple goes against my religion.

So Eddie, wanting to get the full flavor of Wild Turkey in his mixed drinks, used blended whiskies aged in deeply charred American Oak casks of 6, 7, and 8 years. Well, letís see how he did. The nose is mild but filled with caramel and vanilla and a touch of toffee and definitely has that air of bourbon and oak. Ya done good Eddie. It sits upon the pallet with a pleasing warmth and exudes that blended bourbon taste along with the vanilla and caramel. The oak becomes a bit more pronounced and steps forward. The finish is bright and moderate in length but very smooth. It really keeps its character in a Manhattan, as well as an old fashioned, and the flavor just doesnít get watered down or the taste diluted at all; itís a perfect mixer. What a treat to be able to have bourbon for sippiní and bourbon for mixiní and stay within the same brand.

By George Brozowski

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