For the third consecutive year, over the month of November, 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.
Chapter 14, Part 1:
We begin our 2019 edition of Wild Turkey Month with a focus on some of the current notable Wild Turkey releases. While we here at Flight Club ICT love any opportunity to try “dusty” Turkey, we know that there is much to enjoy about modern releases as well. We are big fans of today’s core lineup. In addition, we eagerly await special releases. And when either the core line or special releases turn out to be extraordinary, we get very excited.
We have reviewed multiple standard-release Wild Turkey 101’s from the 1970’s, the 1980’s, the 1990’s, the 2000’s and even this current decade. Our most recently reviewed release was from 2017. I don’t think we have found any one of these to be less than satisfactory, and in some instances these have been some of the best values we have ever found (especially in dusty bourbons).
Today, we take a look at a 2018 release Wild Turkey 101. Why 2018, and why is it noteworthy? In April 2018, Wild Turkey launched its Longbranch product, an 8-year (and older) bourbon that is mesquite charcoal filtered. Because Wild Turkey shifted some of its 8-year stock that would have ordinarily gone into standard 101 to the Longbranch, in order to introduce some of the aged whiskey into the stand 101 blend, the company had to blend in some older whiskeys. According to Bruce Russell, some of these 2018 101’s had 10-year bourbon in place of some of the 8-year stock.
The August 2018 release (known by its bottle code LL/GH) has become quite famous due in part to our friend Rare Bird 101. For the first time in my memory, individuals were scouring store shelves checking for mid-2018 date coded Wild Turkey 101.
We were fortunate enough to grab a bottle. Is this LL/GH Turkey 101 worth the hype?
Nose: “Classic” Turkey 101 notes of sugary caramel, vanilla and oak; leather; musty oak/mulch; soil; apricot; plum; ginger; orange peel; pepper. Impressive. (4/5)
Palate: Thick. Creamy cocoa; pepper; sweet caramel corn; gingersnap cookie; orange oil; apricot. (4/5)
Finish: Oily. Cinnamon Toast Crunch; leather; intense orange oil; vanilla syrup; baking spices. (3.5/5)
Overall: This is not what you would expect in a $25 bottle of modern Wild Turkey 101. It isn’t “off profile” per se, but instead it is just amped up age and a far superior blend to what Wild Turkey is currently putting out. While we aren’t certain how much 8 year turkey is typically used in a standard 101 blend, we are sure that the substitution of 10-year creates a profile that reminds us of some of the great expressions of the past. (4/5)
Value: Simply stated, stop what you are doing and go buy this for $25 for a liter. (5/5)
“It isn’t ‘off profile’ per se, but instead it is just amped up age and a far superior blend to what Wild Turkey is currently putting out.”
Scott is a co-founder of Flight Club and a frequent writer and reviewer on the Club’s blog.