Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wakey Whiskey: National Bourbon Day with Wild Turkey 101

by Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone, and Happy National Bourbon Day!

With this special day in mind, it really narrowed down my #wakeywhiskey selection. But, fear not, I had plenty of bourbon to choose from. For this morning's indulgence I'm going with a classic, Wild Turkey 101 from the Austin, Nichols Distilling Company in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The company can trace its roots back to 1855, and the Wild Turkey brand goes back to 1940.

The Wild Turkey 101 is a rye-heavy bourbon, bottled at 101 proof, hence the name. To be labeled as a bourbon there are a few criteria that every spirit needs to meet. First, it needs to be between 51% and 79% corn as the mash, while the rest can be other grains (typically barley, wheat, and rye). It also needs to be barrel aged for at least two years in new charred oak barrels. Bourbon barrels aren't allowed to be reused for more bourbon, so they typically find other uses for them like aging scotch whiskies and craft beers. And lastly, although this maybe should have come first, all bourbon has to come from the USA. It doesn't have to be Kentucky, although that's where most is made.

This bourbon pours a deep amber, almost caramel color, but not quite a full dark brown. The aroma is classic bourbon, primarily a corn sweetness with hints of booziness, and there is a bit of cinnamon spice coming from the rye. Overall a very inviting appearance and aroma.

The taste is more of the same, sweet, spicy, with a boozy hit that's present but not overpowering. It's not crazy complex, but it probably shouldn't be. There are hints of vanilla as well, which is typical of oak aging, and I'm especially impressed by the mildness of the alcohol bite for a 101 proof (55%) whiskey. It's a pleasant sip, a classic bourbon.

I hope everyone out there is enjoying National Bourbon Day! If you can't break one out for a #wakeywhiskey this morning, have a pour after work. Cheers!

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