Wild Turkey 81 Rye Background
Wild Turkey 81 Rye is a recent addition to the Wild Turkey lineup. It was a response to the sudden spike in demand for rye whiskey, which previously basically a boutique product compared to the Bourbon business. When Wild Turkey’s supply of aged rye whiskey began to outstripped demand, they introduced Wild Turkey 81 Rye as what seems a stop-gap. It’s a younger version than Wild Turkey 101 Rye and obviously is a lower proof so they could get more bottles out of a barrel. Wild Turkey says the age of Wild Turkey 81 Rye is 4-5 years old.
Wild Turkey 101 left shelves for about two years as Wild Turkey’s ramped up production came to age. Wild Turkey 101 Rye began rolling out to select states in late 2013/early 2014. Bottles still appear to be limited and there’s no sign that Wild Turkey 81 Rye is going away any time soon.
4-5 years old. Bottled at 81%. Rumored to be around 65% rye. Paid $21
Minty, menthol. A little evergreen. Nice subtle, but distinct rye character coming through. Caramel. Charred oak. Touch of vanilla.
Light and thin. A little cardboard. Pine flavors. Caramel, a little sweetness. Just a little spice builds in the finish.
For the price and the proof, this is pretty good stuff. It’s incomparable to Wild Turkey 101 Rye that’s not too much more expensive. If 101 is available, that would seem a no-brainer to me. But anyway, if you focus on what Wild Turkey 81 Rye is, there’s not much to dislike. Certainly it’s on the light side and lacks oomph, but it does have nice flavor and is very drinkable. This would make a nice afternoon session whiskey and there’s no complaining about the price.
Try a Glass – 2.0/5.0 Rating
(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)
Buying Options and Further Research
If you can find Wild Turkey 101 Rye, that’s an easy choice in my book. The downside is you have to buy a whole liter at this present time, but it’s hands down the better choice for obvious reasons. From there, other similarly prices light ryes are Sazerac Rye 6 Year, Old Overholt, and Rittenhouse. There are some variations in there, but if I had to stack them up, I’d prefer the sweet Sazerac 6 over this, but Rittenhouse after Wild Turkey 81 Rye. Rittenhouse was dry and a little rough for my tastes. I wouldn’t recommend Old Overholt. Depending on my mood I could see swapping order on Sazerac 6 and Wild Turkey 81 Rye.