Wild Turkey Straight Rye

WT Rye.jpg

Please take into account that these are my personal tasting notes and personal experience, as such you may interpret this bourbon very differently from me.

Following on from my tasting notes for Wild Turkey 101 is the next sample from the Drinks by the Dram selection of Wild Turkey from Master of Malt that my wife bought me for Christmas.

Now unlike the 81 Proof and the 101 this is a Rye Whiskey and not a bourbon. Honestly I didn’t know the difference until I looked it up, so in case like me you’re unaware of these different categories here’s a breakdown:

Regulations Regarding Bourbon Production:

  1. Must be made inside of the United States. One of the most common misconceptions about Bourbon is that it needs to made in Bourbon County.
  2. Must be 51% corn and 49% of the rest of it can be other grains.
  3. Needs to be aged in brand new charred American Oak Barrels.
  4. Can never be distilled to an ABV higher than 80%
  5. When it enters the barrel for aging, it can not be higher in proof than 62.5% ABV
  6. When it enters the bottle, it must be at least 40% ABV. I’m personally not going to be upset if it’s a few points higher 

Don’t forget that 49% can be other grains, with the most common types being Rye and Wheat. As a general rule of thumb Rye adds spice, Wheat adds sweetness and Corn brings alcohol.

Regulations for Rye Whisk(e)y Production:
Many of the rules for production are similar to Bourbon.

  1. Must be 51% Rye and the rest can be other grains.
  2. Needs to be aged in brand new charred American Oak Barrels.
  3. The same upper limits apply for distillation apply as Bourbon, not to exceed 80% ABV
  4. The same rules for entering barrels applies as well, not to exceed 62.5% ABV.

Definitions taken from A Bar Above.


Light gold.


Sweet and fruity, almost tropical. A touch of vanilla in there as well.

With Water: Vanilla comes through more along with some caramel.


Spicy, a bit of smoke and then again the vanilla sweetness and tropical fruit from the nose.

With Water: Turns slightly bitter with the addition of water.


Long, fruity, a bit of smoke again and a good amount of spice. Slightly drying.

With Water: A bit more fruit showing through as the spice is tempered a little.


My experience of rye whiskey is even more limited than my experience of bourbon, with the only other rye I have tried being the “world famous” Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye. I quiet enjoyed this, particularly the tropical fruity notes. That said It was a bit too straight forward for me. What you see (or in this case smell) is what you get with this one, with no hidden depth to it. That might be great for some people and to be fair they do advertise this as being good with mixers and  in cocktails, but for me it was just a bit too plain. For around £25 – £35 a bottle it’s not too bad but I would prefer to go for the 101 bourbon instead, or even better splash out a bit more and go for the Rare Breed.


Taken from the Wild Turkey Website:


Wild Turkey Straight Rye Whiskey is an 81 proof (40.5% alcohol) ode to America’s first distilled spirit: rye whiskey. When making Wild Turkey Rye, we use a deeper, “alligator” char for extra flavor. Big, broad vanilla and spice notes burst through without changing the bold rye taste. Wild Turkey Rye stands up to any mixer and shines through in cocktails.

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