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

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

Wild Turkey Rye

NoseRye spice, mint, oak
PalateRye spice, ripe fruit, honey
FinishMedium, spice, bitter
Alcohol content81 proof (40.5% ABV)
How to drinkCocktails
Similar toJim Beam Rye

The Wild Turkey smells like rye bread, topped with honey, with a drizzle of cinnamon.

On the palate, it delivers a cinnamon and rye blast, followed by caramel, vanilla and very subtle orange.

The finish is short with the traditional Wild Turkey bite but nothing terrible, there is some rye and charred oak too.

This whiskey strikes a good balance between sweetness and spice, with WIld Turkey’s signature charred oak presence, some nice vanilla and caramel notes making an easy sipper.

Not particularly interesting, it does not have any remarkable tasting notes but it drinks OK making a good option as a value rye whiskey.

The Wild Turkey Rye is what some folks call a “barely legal” rye whiskey as it only has enough of this grain in the mash to belong to this category. This makes this Turkey far less spicy than other rye whiskeys.

Best way of drinking it is neat or rocks. Not so good as a mixer as the low-proof and subtle rye spice don’t add much value. I’d rather use something more punchy.

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

  • Aged for 4 years in highly charred oak barrels. Wild Turkey uses the highest possible degree of char known as the “Alligator Char“. This is a constant feature across this brand’s releases.
  • Wild Turkey exclusively uses non-GMO grains to make whiskey.
  • Earned Gold at the 2012 San Francisco World 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 toRare Breed Rye, Bulleit Rye

The nose is sweet and minty, with a hint of charred oak typical of every Wild Turkey whiskey 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, 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.

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 great sipper as most Wild Turkey’s releases and 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.
  • Earned 92 points at Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2020.
  • The Wild Turkey brand was acquired in 2009 by the Campari Group from Italy.

Wild Turkey Rye vs 101: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Wild Turkey Rye$20
Wild Turkey 101 Rye$23

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

The 101 is far more tasty

WhiskeyWild Turkey RyeWild Turkey 101 Rye
  • There is no contest here as the 101 Rye is far better than the low-proof rye.
  • The main difference between these drams is that the “traditional version” was severely watered-down before bottling, hence the lower proof. This makes the whisky less tasty and interesting.
  • The 101 Rye is far more complex and deep and is yet smooth. If you feel it too warm add a large ice cube or a dash of water and tune it down. Remember that it is easier to tame a dram than to upgrade one.

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