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Wild Turkey 81 vs Wild Turkey 101: Head to Head

Discover the differences between Wild Turkey 81 vs Wild Turkey 101 in this in-depth comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Wild Turkey 81 Proof Bourbon

NoseCorn, vanilla, charred oak
PalateOak, corn, vanilla, rye spice, caramel
FinishMedium-length, vanilla, spice, oak
Alcohol content81 proof (40.5% ABV)
How to drinkCocktails
Similar toJack Daniel’s, Jim Beam

The nose is faint and sweet with notes of corn, vanilla and charred oak.

On the palate, the Turkey 81 delivers a sweet taste, rich in corn, vanilla and caramel at first, followed by charred oak and rye spice.

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

81 Proof is a good entry-level bourbon, mostly sweet, with some warmth to it, although it feels thin and somewhat watered-down.

Good option for those looking for a mixer to make cheap cocktails. Not a great sipper but becomes better when adding ice as it loses some warmth and the charred oak astringency.

Learn more about this brand by reading my post: Discover the Best Wild Turkey where I rank every bottle.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Wild Turkey 81:

  • 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.
  • Wild Turkey is crafted using American grown non-GMO grains.

Wild Turkey 101

NoseCaramel, oak, vanilla, citrus
PalateBaking spice, caramel, oak char, mint
FinishLong, baking spice, oak char
Alcohol content101 proof (50.5% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toBuffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve

On the nose the 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 as every Wild Turkey bottle and a satisfying note of old leather.

Wild Turkey 101 (Review) 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 (Similar Bourbons) 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 and one of the best whiskeys to mix.

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

  • Bottled at 101 proof!
  • 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 whiskey 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.
  • The 101 won a gold medal at the International Wine & Spirits Competition.

What’s the difference between Wild Turkey 81 and Wild Turkey 101?

Wild Turkey 101 has more alcohol than its 81 sibling, this means that the latter was diluted with water when extracted from the barrel before bottling.

Diluting to this strength is the norm in the industry allowing producers to stretch out their stocks while making spirits easier to drink to most consumers as high-proof offerings can be off-putting for some people.

But high proof is not synonym of harsh, when a spirit is properly distilled and crafted it will go down nicely.

And of course is a matter or practice, but once you get acquainted with high proof you are unlikely to drink again lesser drams.

Wild Turkey drinking guide

This guide will help you make the better use of your dram:

Wild Turkey 81
Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey 81 vs 101: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Wild Turkey 81 $23
Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon$27

Wild Turkey 81 vs Wild Turkey 101: Which is better?

The 101 is a huge upgrade over the regular 81

WhiskeyWild Turkey 81Wild Turkey 101
  • 101 is remarkably better than 81. This is a full-bodied, rich and tasty bourbon that does not drink as a high proof as it is quite smooth
  • 101 is a champ in terms of value as it goes toe to toe with elite bottled that double it in price.
  • Wild Turkey 81 is a better choice for newbies new to bourbon or liquors in general, looking for a mixer or a something to mix with Coke. Wild Turkey 81 is better than most whiskeys at a price range in which most have nail polish notes.

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey is distilled and bottled since 1891 by the Wild Turkey Distilling Co located near Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. It offers tours and is part of the American Whiskey Trail and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

The name Wild Turkey comes as an anecdote when Thomas McCarthy, an employee, took samples of whiskey from the distillery on a turkey hunt with a group of friends. The next year, his friends asked him to bring “some of that wild turkey whiskey” on their next hunt.

Wild Turkey now belongs to the Campari Group, an Italian spirits giant, headquartered in Milan, Italy.

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