Wild Turkey is one of the iconic American bourbons. It's been around since 1855, which means it has a fair bit of staying power. And over the years, they have expanded beyond the classic 101 proof Wild Turkey and have added a few others to the collection. Since we have the world's greatest jobs, we got to sit down and taste all four Wild Turkey expressions and we paired our tasting notes with Jimmy Russell's--the famed Wild Turkey master distiller.
Wild Turkey (101 Proof)
Jimmy Russell: This bad boy is the flagship bourbon in the Wild Turkey family. It’s no wonder it was Hunter S. Thompson’s favorite. Big and bold, we believe that this is what real bourbon should taste like: the vanilla and caramel flavors virtually swagger in your mouth. Finish is very long, and while it may not keep you warm in bed – at least it stays with you. Our motto? Higher proof, more flavor.
Maxim Editor Rich: One word: Smoooooootherific. (Yes, that's how you spell it.)
Maxim Editor Jesse: The perfect kickoff to a Friday morning; the 101 indeed goes down smooth and invites you back for more. I really, REALLY don’t want to do any work now.
Wild Turkey Rare Breed
Jimmy Russell: This one makes us proud, because it is of the earliest small-batch whiskey ever offered from our part of the world. This baby is barrel-proof, which captures its moneyed, pure flavor. Remarkably well-balanced, given its big-boned and full-bodied flavor: you’ll get black pepper and almonds in the smooth palate. Extremely assertive, with tones of sweet tobacco and the slightest hints of citrus and herbs, this one has a finish that kicks (108 proof kick, that is): think wheat toast and hot peppers. You’ll never look at bourbon the same way again.
Maxim Editor Rich: This 108 proofer comes straight from the barrel to the bottle, no water added. The result? It made my toes very warm. Very. Warm.
Maxim Editor Jesse: “Straight from the barrel” translates to “Wow, my sinuses are instantly cleared. And I am ready to party.” A few more sips of this and I’ll feel cocky enough to push the World’s Most Interesting Man into a ditch.
Russell's Reserve Small Batch 10 year Old
Jimmy Russell: Put father, son and 80 years of combined distilling experience together and this kick-ass bourbon is the result. Together with my son Eddie Russell, our associate distiller, we created Russell's Reserve, a 10-year-old whiskey, which we both believe is the perfect number of years in the barrel for a bourbon. At this age, it’s crisp, it’s smooth, and it’s memorable. Open the bottle and aromas of "drink me” pour out– lots of vanilla, oak, and toffee. It gives a great warmth and is balanced by big notes of pepper and orange peel. And at the end of the day, what good is a bourbon if you can't share it with your old man?
Maxim Editor Rich: If there's one thing I've learned from drinking a lot—and I mean, A LOT—of alcohol it's this: When the master distiller puts his name on it like Jimmy Russell does here, it's gonna be awesome. And, with hints of vanilla, oak and toffee, it is.
Maxim Editor Jesse: Master Distiller Jimmy Russell claims 10 years is the perfect amount of time for this small batch’s maturation; I’m inclined to agree. I taste the caramel more than anything else, but it’s crisp and complex, not cavity-inducing.
Jimmy Russell: A bourbon-based liqueur? You bet. American Honey is the original bourbon honey liqueur. This is the Angelina Jolie of our family – disarmingly sweet, then smacks you across the face with a smile. Smooth, smooth honey and sweet caramel flavors with bourbon notes and a big, big finish. At 71 proof, we like it chilled or straight as a shot, but don’t be afraid to man-size your drinks with it.
Maxim Editor Rich: Winnie the Pooh would lose his mind if he tasted this.
Maxim Editor Jesse: I’m not much of a liqueur man, so I found the sweetness overpowering. But if you like eating bowls of Bit O’ Honey candy for breakfast, this is perfect for you.