Wild Turkey 81 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Review

let’s begin

America is a land of extremes. It seems that whatever you find out there it is always going to be the extreme version of something.

They are especially extreme about their love of America.

From a staunch defence of anything to do with their constitution to a wild amount of patriotism, this is a country that is proud of its past and what it has become.

That pride is emulated by Wild Turkey, a Kentucky based Whisky distillery that makes some of the finest Bourbon and Rye around.

And that could perhaps bet attributed to their refusal to stray from the past and the tried and tested methods of their forefathers.

The Master Distillers at Wild Turkey use the same processes for creating great Whisky as those who have gone before them, dating back to before the Prohibition era.

They like to stick to premium ingredients and only the finest of casks, and judging by their current products, they have done pretty well to do so.

One such product is Wild Turkey 81.  This is a variation of their Wild Turkey 101, only bottled at a lower proof (40.5% ABV). 

It was created by Master Distiller Eddie Russell, whose father just so happens to be fellow Master Distiller Jimmy Russell.

This expression has been aged in charred American oak barrels to give it a deeply complex flavour.

The char is referred to as “alligator char”, meaning it is the deepest available.  With this kind of char there are plenty of little ridges and nooks for the Whisky to fully soak up the smoky characteristics.

It is called alligator for its resemblance to alligator skin, but don’t fear, no reptiles were harmed in the burning of these barrels!

Those characteristics can be discovered from nose to finish and give the liquid a fantastic warmth.

The nose opens with sweet caramel and subtle oaky notes that will have your taste buds tingling.

These are joined by a thick honey and spicy cinnamon hint that add a bit of depth.

In the background of it all is a bitter, dark chocolate flavour that complements the smoke perfectly.

On the palate, these flavours explode in a burst of smoke and oily dullness.

The saccharine caramel and honey give a wonderfully thick and creamy mouth feel, with the dark chocolate melting in the background.

There is a slight whiff of black cherries and coffee beans, surrounded by a haze of oak smoke that warms the palate and entices you to try more.

The bitterness of the coffee and dark chocolate is combined well with the caramel and honey, giving this dram a refined and well-seasoned quality.

This is perhaps best expressed on the finish.  The linger is long with all the right characteristics present.

From the sweet, thick caramel to the smoky oak spices, there is a lot going in this Bourbon that gives it a rich complexity.

The finish rounds off well with all the different flavours bouncing off one another and not being too over whelming.

Wild Turkey 81 Review: The Verdict

Wild Turkey has perfecting their recipes and methods for a long time and if Wild Turkey 81 is anything to go by, they have achieved greatness through all their perseverance.

Tags: alligator charBourbonDistilleryDrinkWireMaster Distiller Eddie RussellWild TurkeyWild Turkey 81
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My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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