If you are a rye whiskey fan, you were probably pretty sad a couple years ago when it was announced that Wild Turkey Rye 101 was going on hiatus. Wild Turkey always maintained that it was actually a hiatus and not a discontinuation. They urged patience. Or maybe you’d like to take a look at the 81 proof rye or Russell’s Reserve Rye?
Why would you be sad that a fairly low priced rye whiskey was going away however briefly? Well that’s the biggest reason, it was very nicely priced. Add in that it was a tasty “everyday” rye and one of the few ryes on the market that wasn’t just MGP rye in another bottle and you have the full answer.
About a year after it went away, I was walking through one of my local liquor stores when I saw a single bottle of Wild Turkey 101 Rye sitting there. I was a bit surprised when I saw it sitting there. To say that it immediately went into my shopping basket is an understatement. I got it home and immediately put it into the closet. Fun bit of trivia: this was the first bottle of whiskey that I purchased to put away for a future story.
Now of course, Wild Turkey 101 Rye is back on the shelves. The price has crept up a little in the interval and the label has been updated, but it is back. Of course, I want to find out how it compares to the pre-hiatus juice. I really want to eliminate any preconceived notions, so let’s go double-blind on this one.
Wild Turkey Rye 101 proof, pre- and post-hiatus comparison
Purchase info: Pre-hiatus: MGM Liquor and Spirits, 750 mL bottle for $18.99. Post-hiatus: Ace Spirits, 1L bottle for $29.99.
Details: 50.5% ABV
Nose: Mint/rosemary, caramel, baking spices and black tea
Mouth: Hot and sweet. Lots of mint with some cookie dough, black tea and baking spices.
Finish: This is a hot finish. One that you just want to breathe in on. Allowing the cool minty air sooth your hot tongue. Lingering mint and sweetness.
Nose: More muted than A with spearmint, caramel, dried grasses and green apple.
Mouth: Soft and velvety, mint, pickle juice and baking spices.
Finish: Short and sweet with cinnamon gum and mint.
Thoughts (Pre-reveal): These are certainly different from one another. Neither are bad. A is more tannic, but also hotter. My wife prefers this one. B has more of the mint/pickle rye flavors that I tend to like. It’s softer and doesn’t show it’s proof as much as A. I like B better. That said, neither of us would turn down a glass of either of these and no matter which is the current release, I’ll be happy to buy another bottle. Before I find out which is which, let me say that I’m glad that even though there was an evolution in flavors during the hiatus, there isn’t a step down in quality.
Thoughts (Post-reveal): Well, my wife is certainly a happy girl. A, the one she liked better, was the current release whereas my preferred dram was B, the pre-hiatus release. I’m not sad, but after sitting on the bottle for almost two years,I will be sure to keep the rest of this bottle for myself and not share. Allowing her the same consideration for the rest of the current release. Thankfully my bottle is still mostly full. Of course once both are gone and replaced with another bottle of the current release we will both be happy.
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