Featuring another guest contributor bourbon review today. This one comes from Jonathan Jones from West Monroe, LA. Jonathan manages a liquor store and has been spreading the bourbon gospel for years. We’re thrilled to have him reviewing Wild Turkey Rare Breed today on the blog. Take a read and let us know what you think of Jonathan’s work.
When I first started to explore the world of bourbon, I was so clueless the word novice wouldn’t even be appropriate. For example, one of the first bottles of bourbon I purchased was Wild Turkey Rare Breed……before I’d ever even tried 101 or any other Wild Turkey product! You could say I dove headfirst into bourbon. Fast-forward 5 years and Wild Turkey 101 is my go-to and Rare Breed is still in my top 3 or 4 bourbons. Seeing as how there wasn’t yet a review for Rare Breed on Bourbon & Banter, I decided to take a crack at it.
According to Wild Turkey’s official website:
Rare Breed is a “barrel-proof bourbon” (108.2 proof, 54.1% alcohol), meaning it has no added water to lower the proof or dilute the flavor after it’s been distilled. This bourbon is a unique marriage of Wild Turkey 6-, 8-, and 12-year-old stocks, giving it a remarkably smooth flavor considering its high alcohol content.
One more thing to note: Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell is known to keep his Rare Breed in the freezer, so after my initial pour (always neat), I stuck the bottle in my freezer to see if Mr. Russell is onto something.
Age: Marriage of 6, 8 and 12 year aged Wild Turkey
How I Drank It: Neat, room temperature.
My Nose Noticed: Toffee | Tobacco | Citrus | Light considering it’s 108.2 proof
First Sip: Toffee | Some vanilla | Candy Corn | Hint of Spice
The Burn:* The commercial description is no joke – Rare Breed is very smooth, smoother than many bourbons in the 90 proof range, yet its 108.2 proof. There is more rye burn than alcohol burn.
Neat, Splash or Rocks: I generally prefer my bourbon neat, but adding a splash of water to Rare Breed brings out more toffee-like sweetness, however, it also kills most of the rye spice and burn. Not necessarily a bad thing, as it accentuates the other flavors more, but this is the first time I can recall diluting Rare Breed, so I’ll have to experiment more with that. Just out of the freezer, the nose is noticeably sweeter. It almost smells like I opened a jar of pipe tobacco. As for taste, it is very similar to neat at room temperature, but what little alcohol bite there was is gone. I may start doing things Mr. Russell’s way.
Share With: Close friends and anyone who has a misconception of what Wild Turkey is or isn’t. I still often meet people who think Wild Turkey is only for the most hardcore of whiskey drinkers, and they’re quite shocked when they fall in love with Rare Breed after one sip.
Worth The Price: Under $40 where I work and I would gladly pay up to $50 for a bottle.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: Bottle, all day (and night) long.
*Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?
Wild Turkey may have a reputation as the “kickin’ chicken” thanks to country singers from the 1970s and college kids from many generations, but don’t let that fool you. Rare Breed is not only one of Wild Turkey’s finest expressions, but one of the finest bourbons available today.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this release if you’ve had a chance to try it. Let us know what you think in the comments section.