Wild Turkey Distillery | Best Bourbons | Dusty | Review

Wild Turkey 101 Review [Plus WT 101 Dusty Comparison – 70’s to 90’s]

Nov 18, 2020


by Matty Sims

Glencairn Whiskey Glass
Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
Wild Turkey 101 BourbonDetails
Mashbill75% corn, 13% barley and 12% rye
In the Bottle101 Proof
AgeNAS (6 to 8 years)
Size750 mL and Up
Suggested MSRP$19.99-$34.99
Parent CompanyCampari Group
DistilleryWild Turkey Distillery
Lawrenceburg, KY
ProsBig, Bold Flavors
ConsNo Glaring Deficits
RatingSilver 87 Points
InventoryDaily Drinker

Wild Turkey 101 bourbon has a cult-like following. For Turkey lovers, it can stand up against the best of the best. Honestly, it’s a great pour and often overlooked. Wild Turkey 101 is non-age stated but it’s a blend of 6 to 8-year-old bourbon at 101 proof.

Other bourbons in that age range or proof range are Blanton’s, Elijah Craig Small Batch, and Four Roses Small Batch. Wild Turkey 101 can easily stand its ground. And on a good day and for the right drinker win out.

The other good news? It’s always available. You never have to worry about whether your local store will have it stocked. Hell, you can grab a handle any day of the week. It also is perfectly suited to drink neat, on the rocks, or mixed (because of its big bold flavors).

Even better news? If you’re lucky you can still find stores with dusty Wild Turkey 101’s on the shelf, so be alert and make sure to always check the back of the shelves.

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon Review

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon

Related: Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Review

Wild Turkey 101 is a medium viscosity with a dark honey color.

Nose – 86 Nose

Rye spice with undertones of caramel, honey, and orange zest. It’s full-flavored and rich.

Taste – 89 Points

Vanilla and orange zest with rye spice and Szechuan peppercorn. The back of the palate has that lingering tingle from the peppercorn but also caramel to close.

Finish – 87 Points

The finish is oak and rye with subtle undertones of vanilla.

Verdict – Silver 87 out of 100 Points

The Bard Silver 300px

It’s the high end of daily drinkers because it’s readily available and jam-packed with bold flavors. Turkey lovers — tell me what you love most about Wild Turkey 101 in the comments.

American Spirit: Wild Turkey Bourbon from Ripy to Russell
  • Jennings, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 232 Pages - 12/01/2020 (Publication Date) - Mascot Books Inc (Publisher)

1990s Wild Turkey 101

1990s WT 101

The color is more orange than previous releases. However, this viscosity has changed. Still good glass coverage but the thick ribbons have changed to long thin beads.

Nose – 93 out of 100 Points

This 90s WT 101 is less sweet than the 80s and more savory with more funk, more leather, and baking spice but more as a supporting actor. I also get just a hint of vanilla and oak.

Taste – 90 out of 100 Points

The front of the palate has charred wood and baking spice. There’s some spice and just hints of leather at the top back of the palate.

Finish – 92 out of 100 Points

Charred oak, subtle leather, and black pepper through a medium to long finish.

Verdict – Silver 91.6 out of 100 Points

The Bard Silver 300px

The 90s WT 101 had less complexity than either the 70s or 80s. It has the boldest spice profile out of the three though.

1980s Wild Turkey 101

1980s WT 101

Great viscosity with thick ribbons cascading down the curves of my Glencairn glass.

Nose – 95 out of 100 Points

Compared to the 1970s WT101, this nose is brighter with more fruit — Granny Smith apples. There’s also significant baking spice with cinnamon the prominent players. Plus the expected Turkey funk with leather and tobacco. George Clinton approved.

Taste – 96 out of 100 Points

A clean palate with just a hint of that Granny Smith apple then the baking spice rolls in like a thunderstorm on a humid Southern afternoon followed by an undercurrent of leather and black pepper. Bold flavors with just a hint of the funk.

Finish – 95 out of 100 Points

Long finish with more leather, baking spice, and pepper.

Verdict – Gold 95.3 out of 100 Points

The old Wild Turkeys are always a treat. It’s fun to do these tasting by decades and see how the bourbon flavor profile of a brand developed.

1970s Wild Turkey 101

1970s WT 101

Nose – 98 out of 100 Points

The nose is a delight with leather and Turkey funk and spice, with underlying caramel corn and brown butter sweetness.

Taste – 98 out of 100 Points

The palate is dusty decadence with leather, oak, some of that Turkey funk, and baking spice mid to back of the palate with just a pop of black pepper.

Finish – 98 out of 100 Points

The finish on this 1972 WT 1010 is long with notes of baking spice, oak, black pepper, and a little bit of that funk.

Verdict – Platinum 98 out of 100 Points

This 1972 Wild Turkey was such a delight to drink. It hit all the flavor points you want from a dusty with the bold flavors you expect from Wild Turkey.

New Wild Turkey 101 Label in 2021

Listen I could be wrong, but I can’t recall another brand that’s had as many label changes with such iconic designs — just Wild Turkey 101 has had three label changes now since 2011. The absolutely iconic Kentucky Spirit bottle was changed to the more squat bottle used for other WT brands.

David Jennings, Wild Turkey super enthusiasts and proprietor of Rare Bird 101, suggested there might be a price change but also had this to say:

Since 1942, Wild Turkey has maintained its everyman status. Let’s cross our fingers that despite questionable pricing by its competitors, Wild Turkey stays true to its loyal fans. If you think about it, that’s what pulled Wild Turkey through the Glut Era. Jimmy Russell kept doing what he’d always been doing – no compromising, no cutting corners, and never forgetting the customers that kept the lights on at the distillery. After all, it’s the hard-working men and women that regularly purchase Wild Turkey Bourbon and Wild Turkey 101 that mean the most. Not the whiskey enthusiasts, not the bourbon geeks, but the Janes and Joes busting their asses everyday (the very folks Heaven Hill is now sending Wild Turkey’s way).

Check out the new proposed labels below.

Here’s the new Wild Turkey 101 bottled with an embossed Turkey above the label. What do you think?

WT 101: Frequently Asked Questions

Is Wild Turkey 101 a good bourbon?

Why yes, yes it is. Wild Turkey 101 is the high end of daily drinkers because it’s readily available and jam-packed with bold flavors.

Is Wild Turkey 101 a top shelf?

Wild Turkey 101 is not considered a top-shelf whiskey. Although I would argue, it offers high quality, developed flavors.

How long is Wild Turkey 101 aged?

Wild Turkey 101 is aged 6 to 8 years in the barrel.

How do you drink Wild Turkey 101?

As I will mention above, I prefer to drink Wild Turkey 101 neat.

Can you drink Wild Turkey straight?

Yup, and I would recommend it that way.

Which is better Makers Mark or Wild Turkey?

I scored Wild Turkey 101 one point higher than Maker’s Mark. Although they are a completely different flavor profile and experience.

What do you mix Wild Turkey 101 with?

Whatever you mix Wild Turkey 101 with, its bold flavors will stand up and stand out.

Is Wild Turkey 101 bottled in bond?

No, it is not. For one thing, Bottled in Bond whiskey must be 100 proof. Wild Turkey 101 is 101 proof.

Is Wild Turkey a bourbon?

Yes, it is. Corn is its primary grain (75% corn, 13% barley, and 12% rye), more specifically it’s a high rye bourbon.

Is Wild Turkey 101 a rye whiskey?

Wild Turkey 101 is not a rye whiskey but it is made with a high rye bourbon mashbill, so a rye whiskey would mean rye is the prominent grain. Wild Turkey only has 11% rye in its mash.

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Why Trust The Bourbon Bard?

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is a storyteller who loves bourbon. He has been drinking and studying whiskey for over 10 years. He has also been featured on sites like Bourbon Sippers, Explore Whiskey, Thrive Global and Inside Hook, partnered with dozens of distilleries, and reviewed hundreds of whiskeys. He has also created single barrel stickers for Bourbon Pursuit and Total Wine.
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  1. Stelth

    WT 101° beats the shit out of all the other heralded BOURBONs I’ve ever tried don’t even come close. If you need a fancy, unobtainable bourbon, look elsewhere. If you want the best, take a shot.

    • Matty Sims

      I just the chance to do a WT101 tasting from 70s, 80s, and 90s, so I will be adding the results from that to this post shortly.

  2. Rene

    It’s just a delicious bourbon that holds it own against bourbons twice the price.

  3. Stelth

    WT 101° is the only bourbon I buy. I’ve tried other so-called “better” bourbons but I was always disappointed with the flavor (and had to spend more for that disappointment.) The Kicken’ Chicken is the best, and the new label and embossed bottle is an improvement over the last label.

    • Matty Sims

      It’s tasty AF. No doubt about that.


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