Wild Turkey’s Master Distiller Jimmy Russell has been at it for more than 60 years, and he’s still going strong. Sixty years in the bourbon industry…hell, 60 years in any industry is damn impressive. To commemorate this milestone, Eddie Russell, Master Distiller and Jimmy’s son, put together this release. Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary is a blend of 13 to 16 year old stocks, bottled at 91 proof.
On the nose I get creamy vanilla, caramel, honey, brown sugar. There’s a little bit of oak, but it’s softer and not as pronounced as I would have figured for a bourbon of this age. The palate pretty much matches the nose, but adds a nice cinnamon spice. The finish is medium in length and leaves a sweet aftertaste.
This was not a huge hit when it was released in mid-2014. I’m not sure why. This is one elegant bourbon. Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary is a loving tribute to one of the biggest names in the bourbon industry. Wild Turkey 101 may be a bit rambunctious, where Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary is cool and calculated, even elegant to a degree. A bottle, if you can still find one, will run north of $115 (which is what I paid for my bottle). Recommended to fans of Wild Turkey.
My earliest memories of Wild Turkey began in college, when the mere mention of bourbon made people scrunch their faces. I suppose bourbon wasn’t too popular back then. Fast forward several years and I come back to it in the capacity of a bourbon enthusiast.
Wild Turkey is 101 proof. From what I understand, while other bonded bourbons were being released at 100 proof, Wild Turkey tried to best them by one proof point. That “101” on the label really stands out. The company has a long history that can be traced back to 1855. Master Distiller Jimmy Russell has been in the business for 60 years, and his son Eddie is following in his footsteps as Associate Master Distiller. I’ve read Jimmy prefers his bourbon around the 6 year mark, and that’s about what you get with Wild Turkey 101. It’s a blend of 6, 7, and 8 year old bourbons.
On the nose, Wild Turkey 101 gives me lots of caramel, cinnamon, and vanilla. The first sip lets you know it’s bold (partly due to the high proof). This tastes like what I’d consider to be an excellent example of standard bourbon – lots of caramel, a little spice (like nutmeg), some vanilla and a little citrus. The finish is sweet, a little oaky and long. Delicious.
Wild Turkey 101 is an inexpensive delicious bourbon at about $22. I’ve had this neat and I’ve had this in an old fashioned cocktail. Wild Turkey makes an 81 proof bourbon. At a couple of dollars more, I’d suggest you get yourself a bottle of 101. You won’t regret it.