It was another fun November, as we concluded our second Wild Turkey Month – 30 Turkeys in 30 Days.
Last year, we followed our Wild Turkey Month with a post discussing some of our key takeaways. Similarly, the following are some of our conclusions and parting thoughts after we had time to digest.
1. Wild Turkey Rye and Value
Wild Turkey is obviously best known for its bourbon. But, awareness has grown for its rye whiskey. We tried several rye products this year, ranging from Wild Turkey 101 Rye to Russell’s Reserve. So, if venturing into Wild Turkey’s rye product line, where to start?
For the money, Wild Turkey 101 Rye may be be best option. These retail for about $40 for a liter. The Russell’s Reserve Rye 6 Year bottles that we tried mostly under-performed, and were more expensive. The harder to find Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye has potential to be quite good and gives a slight bump in proof. However, most retail for $60.
In the end, for the money, Wild Turkey 101 Rye is the most consistent and carries the best value.
2. Dusty Turkey Is Not Limited to Bourbon
Old, “dusty,” Wild Turkey bourbon is a treasure trove. However, do not overlook dusty Wild Turkey rye. Specifically, the bottle of Christmas Rye that we tried was outstanding. Its overall score competed with the dusty bourbon that we sampled.
So, if you strike out looking for dusty Wild Turkey bourbon, don’t consider a dusty rye as a consolation prize. The experience it delivers may be just as good.
3. Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit Store Picks and Volatility
Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit store picks are not all created equal. They can range from being lackluster to fantastic. Researching reviews for these picks is necessary before selecting a bottle.
Sometimes, you’ll be better off picking up a bottle of Wild Turkey 101 for less than half the price. But other times, like we saw with bottles such as the pick from Wine and Cheese Place in St. Louis, they can be terrific.
4. Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon Store Picks, from Good to Great
This is another area where research pays dividends.
Though more consistently good than Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit store picks, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel store picks have the potential to be great. Some can even rival limited releases such as the Russell’s Reserve 2002, but at a fraction of the price. For example, two Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel store picks we sampled scored juts as high as the Russell’s Reserve 2002 (2013 and Eddie’s Secret Stash).
5. Cheesy Gold Foil
Not much to say here that hasn’t already been said. Cheesy Gold Foil is legit. Drop the “cheese” and “foil.” This is just gold. Simple as that. Take all our money. Give us the gold.
6. Dusty Turkey Prices
Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to acquire their own Cheesy Gold Foil. With the secret being not-so-secret anymore regarding the goodness that is dusty Turkey, prices have reached near absurdity. It is not uncommon for bottles that were once less than $50 to fetch nearly $1,000.
So, that being the case, the frugal bourbon enthusiast should be aware that, sometimes, a 1990’s Wild Turkey 101 could deliver nearly the experience that a Pewter Top or Split Label can, for a better price.
You know that government warning on all liquor bottles? There needs to be a sticker put on any decanters that change hands on the secondary market: “Warning! This decanter may contain delicious whiskey, but may also contain a toxic level of lead.”
Because of the general awareness that these old decanters pose a risk for lead poisoning, prices are noticeably lower than their traditional glass bottle counterparts. Based on the feedback we’ve received, the glass bottles versus the decanters from the same year show no difference in smell or taste. This lends credibility to the lead discount. But, if acquiring or serving to others, full disclosure of the associated risks should be mandatory.
Gentlemen devoted to the finest.