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Jim Beam vs Wild Turkey: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Jim Beam vs Wild Turkey in this in-depth comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Jim Beam

  • Nose: Caramel, vanilla, hay, corn
  • Palate: Toasty oak, peanut, vanilla, black pepper, oak spice
  • Finish: Short-lived, caramel, oak spice
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Cocktails
  • Similar to: Jameson, Crown Royal


The nose is rich in corn, vanilla and butterscotch with a slight whiff of ethanol coming behind.

On the palate, Jim Beam feels thin with very little body.

Flavor has some of the same sweet corn, vanilla and butterscotch hints, along black pepper, followed by a hint of acetone.

Is it good?

You also get the traditional peanut note noticeable on every whiskey crafted at the Jim Beam Distillery (Booker’s, Knob Creek, Old Grand Dad, Basil Hayden’s, Old Crow).

The finish is short and warm, leaving some sweetness, a bitter note from the oak spice and black pepper behind.

Jim Beam is a serviceable whiskey that comes handy when looking for something cheap to make cocktails  but this is not something to drink either neat or use a sipper.

This bourbon is completely unremarkable, with no body, sweet at first but mostly warm and peppery. 

In summary, Jim Beam makes a decent mixer, but not good on its own. Just too harsh and peppery to make a decent sipper.

Jim Beam facts:

  • The mash bill is 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley.
  • Jim Beam was founded by Jacob Beam a German immigrant in 1795 and is now property of Suntory Holdings, a Japanese conglomerate with an extensive portfolio in the spirits business.
  • Suntory owns a zillion brands such as Sauza Tequila, Canadian Club Whisky, Laphroaig Whisky, Hibiki among many others.

Wild Turkey Straight Bourbon

  • Nose: Corn, vanilla, charred oak
  • Palate: Oak, corn, vanilla, rye spice, caramel
  • Finish: Medium-length, vanilla, spice, oak
  • Alcohol content: 81 proof (40.5% ABV)
  • How to drink: Cocktails
  • Similar to: Wild Turkey 101, Jack Daniel’s


The nose is faint and sweet with notes of corn, vanilla and the charred oak present in every Wild Turkey offering.

On the palate, the Turkey Bourbon feels sweet, is rich in corn, vanilla and caramel at first, followed by charred oak and rye spice.

The finish has a decent length, with a bit of bite, charred oak and lingering sweetness.

Is it good?

Wild Turkey is a good entry-level bourbon, mostly sweet, with some warmth to it, although it feels thin lacking in texture.

Good option for those looking for a whiskey mixer to make cheap cocktails.

Not a great sipper but becomes better when adding rocks as it loses some warmth and the charred oak spiciness.

Wild Turkey 81 facts:

  • The mash bill is comprised of 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% barley.
  • This bourbon is aged on average 6 to 8 years using new American oak barrels with an “alligator char” (char no. 4); this is the maximum degree of char.
  • This brand belongs to the Campari Group headquartered in Milan, Italy.

Jim Beam vs Wild Turkey: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Jim Beam$24
Wild Turkey$22

Jim Beam vs Wild Turkey: Which is better?

Wild Turkey is a better entry-level whiskey than Jim Beam

WhiskeyJim BeamWild Turkey
  • The Wild Turkey 81 is the weakest bourbon from this brand as it feels weak and watered-down.
  • Too basic to make a good sipper, although it becomes serviceable in homemade cocktails as its price is hard to beat.
  • Despite its shortcomings it still makes a better whiskey than Jim Beam which is plagued with odd tasting notes, including some nail polish.

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