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Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon vs Wild Turkey 101 Rye: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon vs Wild Turkey 101 Rye in this comparison and decide which is better for You!

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon

NoseOak, honey, caramel, vanilla
PalateVanilla, brown sugar, baking spice, mint
FinishLong, caramel, charred oak, old leather
Alcohol content101 proof (50.5% ABV)
How to drinkRocks
Similar toBuffalo Trace, Rare Breed

On the nose the Wild Turkey 101 is sweet, with hints of honey, caramel and vanilla along a charred oak note.

It offers a nice mouthfeel as it has a buttery feel, a bit warm at first, giving way to vanilla, brown sugar, baking spice, hazelnuts and a light touch of mint.

The finish is medium to long, pleasantly warm, high in charred oak which is a common feature across every Wild Turkey release.

Wild Turkey 101 strikes a solid balance between oak spice, old leather and sweet notes, it is complex but yet easy to drink with quite a pleasant finish.

This is good tasty bourbon that gives a moderate yet pleasing burn; add a large ice ball if you want it go down easy.

The Wild Turkey 101 is one of the best bourbons in terms of value, it goes head to head with much pricier and elite bottles making it a no-brainer.

If you’ve tried the regular Wild Turkey you are going to find the 101 to be a vast improvement.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon:

  • Wild Turkey’s mash bill is comprised of 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% barley.
  • This whiskey ages for no less than 5 years in heavily charred casks.
  • Wild Turkey uses non-GMOs to make whiskey.
  • Wild Turkey barrels its whiskeys at a lower entry-proof, meaning the spirit is a lower proof as it comes off the still prior to maturing; that lower entry proof allows to more flavor from the grains.
  • The whiskey is pulled from the barrel at 109 proof before being proofed down a notch.
  • Earned a gold medal at the International Wine & Spirits Competition.

Wild Turkey 101 Rye

NoseMint, herbal, ethanol
PalateRye spice, anise, mint, cherry
FinishMedium, rye spice, ripe fruit
Alcohol content101 proof (50.5% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toOld Forester Rye, Bulleit Rye

The Wild Turkey is a Rye Whiskey low in rye that tastes like a spicy version of the Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon.

The nose is sweet and minty, with the same charred oak note of the WT Bourbon and a faint spicy note.

Palate brings rye spice in moderation with nice tasting notes of mint and anise which are typical of rye whiskey along leather, charred oak and caramel.

The body is a bit creamy with a nice silky mouthfeel.

Finish is moderate and sweet with just a slight sour note from the oak char and a bit of rye spice.

This whiskey is a bit warm but not nearly as much as you would expect from a high proof dram; it drinks quite nicely.

It makes a good sipper along as you can swallow the marriage of oak char spice and rye spice, yet a great option for cocktails that demand a kick out of the high proof.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the 101 Rye:

  • Aged for no less than 4 years in heavily charred American oak barrels. The Turkey likes to give its barrel what in the business is known as the “Alligator Char“.
  • Earned 92 points at Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2020.
  • Wild Turkey uses non-GMOs to make whiskey.
  • The Wild Turkey brand was acquired in 2009 by the Campari Group from Italy.

101 Bourbon vs 101 Rye: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Wild Turkey Bourbon 101$23
Wild Turkey Rye 101$23

Wild Turkey Bourbon 101 vs Wild Turkey Rye 101: Which is better?

The 101 Bourbon is hard to beat

Whiskey101 Bourbon101 Rye
  • Rye 101 is an average whiskey within its category while Bourbon 101 is one of the best in its class, therefore I recommend the latter as it makes an incredible sipping bourbon.
  • It has enjoyable tasting notes and does not drink as a high proof pour as it’s just moderately warm.
  • Something I’m yet to like about the rye whiskeys from Wild Turkey is the mix of their signature oak char and rye spice as I feel it overwhelms sweet caramel notes.
  • The Bourbon 101 is a champion in terms of value for the money as it drinks better than many bourbons offered for more money.
  • Rye 101 is a good option when looking for something spicy to add a kick to your Manhattan or Old Fashioned, although I would prefer to use a more spicy dram like the Bulleit Rye.

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