30 Turkeys in 30 Days: Thanksgiving Day Bonus (Wild Turkey Forgiven)

This month we have been bringing you our series “30 Turkeys in 30 days,” with a history of Wild Turkey and its brands, along with reviews of current and recent Wild Turkey bourbons.

Today – Thanksgiving day – we wanted to bring you a bonus review, this time featuring something other than bourbon.  Sort of.

The story of Wild Turkey Forgiven is so straightforward that it defies belief.  One day in around 2013, a Wild Turkey distillery worker mistakenly combined a not insignificant quantity of 4 year rye whiskey with 6 year bourbon.  The ratios were 78% bourbon and 22% rye.   When Eddie Russell tried the blend, he liked it enough to create a new Wild Turkey product, and called it “Forgiven.” According to Campari, “Despite its accidental beginnings, Wild Turkey Associate Master Distiller Eddie Russell quickly realized that he had an exceptional whiskey more than worthy of bringing to market, hence the name ‘Forgiven.'”

Introduced in 2013, Forgiven may or may not be an ongoing product.  It is currently listed on Wild Turkey’s website, but it has been reported that the product has been discontinued altogether.  I’ve read and heard many differing perspectives.  We know quantities are scarce – few bottles remain on shelves.  Wild Turkey doesn’t release their batch sizes, and they have been known to exaggerate what is exactly a batch, but to date Wild Turkey has produced only two batches:  302 and 303.

Wild Turkey Forgiven (Batch 303) (91 Proof)

Nose:  Funk of overripe stone fruit, almost like a rotting peach; apple and grape; chocolate; wet, charred wood; vanilla; vegetal; some light baking spices.  (1.5/5)

Palate:  A bit thin; caramel; vanilla; rye herbal and floral notes; baking spice; white pepper; grape and apple juice; leather; peanut.  The funk continues, but here in a pleasing way.  (3.5/5)

Finish:  Medium.  Continued peanut and funk; apple juice; caramel; rye spice; drying oak.   (2.5/5)

Overall:  This Wild Turkey Forgiven is a bit of a letdown.  I’m normally a fan of funk and must and mushroominess, but here the funk overshadows the otherwise lackluster flavors.  I’m glad I picked up a bottle if in fact it is discontinued, but I’m not sure I’ll find the bottom of this any time soon.   (2.5/5)

Value:  I picked this up recently for $59, a $10 premium over MSRP.  Setting aside “collectability” if in fact this is discontinued, I can’t say I’d go buy another bottle even at MSRP.  (2/5)

“This Wild Turkey Forgiven is a bit of a letdown.  . . . I’m not sure I’ll find the bottom of this any time soon.”

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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