30 Days of Wild Turkey: Day 2 (Wild Turkey 81 Review)

Wild Turkey 81

Chapter 1, Part 2.

Over the month of November 2017, Flight Club will be bringing you “30 Turkeys in 30 days.”  Each day, we will post a review of a different Wild Turkey product.  Throughout that journey, we will provide you with background information on the company, the products and the people behind the products, all of which we hope create a better understanding of what Wild Turkey brings to the world of bourbon.  A table of contents for each of these posts can be found here.

Yesterday, we brought you Part 1 of this Chapter 1 of Wild Turkey Month, with company history and the evolution of the 80/81/101 proof products.   Today we sample a 2015 bottle of Wild Turkey 81.

[Editor’s Note:  For additional resources on Wild Turkey 81, check out the June 2017 Pick of the Month 81]

Wild Turkey 81 Review (2015) (Sampled by Scott Hill and Stephen Netherton)

Nose:  Sawdust and musty oak/cedar; caramel; light poppyseed; white pepper. Compared to the Wild Turkey 80, this bottle lacks much of the dusty nots (a disappointment) and the heat (a positive).  This also pack more sweetness, but the sweetness is more softened and rounded.  (2.5/5)

Palate:  Cool, then white pepper (although less than the Wild Turkey 80); newspaper; white grapes; light peat; creamed corn. Thin.  (2/5)

Finish:  Dry oak and a bit metallic.  Compared to the Wild Turkey 80, this is less tanic (drying) and subsides more gradually.  (2/5)

Overall:  From start to finish and from flavor to texture, the Wild Turkey 81 is a bit too thin, which is more of a criticism for the choice to dilute down Wild Turkey 101 than a criticism for the bourbon itself.  While there are some respectable notes throughout, this is not one I’d reach for often.  (2/5)

Value:  We were able to pick this up locally for less than $10 a bottle using a mail-in rebate.  At that price, this is a true winner to have under the bar, whether for mixed drinks or for that person who just won’t drink higher proof bourbons.   But even at the $15-$20 range (closer to MSRP), this would be one that I’d consider stocking my bar with.  (3.5/5)

“From start to finish and from flavor to texture, the Wild Turkey 81 is a bit too thin.”

Scott Hill

Scott is a co-founder of Flight Club and a frequent writer and reviewer on the Club’s blog.

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