Friday, 17 November 2017

Judging a Book by Its Cover: Wild Turkey 101

Look at this picture. What do you see? A smiling woman and a chess board? Do you know who she is? Your neighbour maybe? Your tenth grade science teacher perhaps? This is Judit Polgar; the strongest female chess player in history. Polgar became the youngest Grandmaster ever at 15 years, 5 months. Various sources place her IQ between 170 and 180. For comparison's sake, Stephen Hawking is rumoured to have an IQ of about 160. So much for the notion that women are somehow weaker or inferior when it comes to logic and math. Oh, and she has also beat champions such as Garry Kasparov and Boris Spassky. Well played, Ms. Polgar. Assumptions often lead us astray. In another lifetime, Judit may not have had the chance to learn chess, much less master it to the point where she could kick the proverbial ass of those who think of women as "the weaker sex". I'm no chess master, but I know better than to make assumptions. How does the saying go? When you assume, you make an "ass" out of "u" and "me"...This brings me to this week's dram: Wild Turkey 101. Bear with me. I know, you probably thinking "Wild Turkey, isn't that the drink of choice for toothless banjo-playing hillbillies like Cletus Spuckler from  The Simpsons?" I certainly thought so. The name sounds like something you want to avoid. To be fair, we should never judge a book by its cover.

Talking Turkey

Wild Turkey takes its name from Wild Turkey Hill in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky whence the Ripy brothers opened their family distillery in 1869. Wild Turkey Bourbon got its name after a distillery executive shared his bourbon with friends on an annual hunting trip — of course, they were after wild turkey. Master Distiller Jimmy Russell joined Wild Turkey in 1954; his son Eddie Russell joined the company in 1981. Jimmy Russell is the world's longest-tenured active master distiller. Eddie was named master distiller after 35 years with Wild Turkey. This is not your cousin Zeke's barnyard bourbon. Wild Turkey uses the deepest barrel char (no.4 "alligator" char) which is, according to them, responsible for their bourbon having more character than others. I'm really not an expert on the relationship between char levels and their effect on flavour, so I don't know if this is true. How does it taste though?

Tasting notes

Let's talk turkey
Nose (undiluted): an initial hit of white glue, settling to a deep floral vanilla and some oak spice.

Palate (undiluted): hot arrival, medium-bodied, sweet candy corn, toffee, developing to a sour cherry candy flavour. Yummy.

Finish: medium length, vanilla returns but develops a slight coconut note at the end. Interesting.

Adding water brings much more oak and vanilla forward on the nose. The fruitiness is dialed back on the palate. Much better neat, to my tastes. This is a medium-ish rye mashbill, though I still don't get much in the way of traditional rye spices from this turkey. Not that I'm complaining. I LOVE rye, but this is a really nice, fruity bourbon.


If you're anything like I was, you probably think Wild Turkey is redneck mouthwash. But you're wrong. The name may lead you to think this is the libation of choice of folks like Cletus Spuckler, but don't forget that Cletus had a well-hidden talent for calligraphy. You may think Wild Turkey is this

But in reality, the taste of Wild Turkey 101 is much closer to this

I highly recommend you get a bottle of this relatively inexpensive bourbon and experience it for yourself. It runs about $36 here in Ontario; about $4 more than Jack Daniel's Old No.7. Wild Turkey is, to my palate, much, much better than JD.

Rating: 3.5/5 moustaches

Slainte !!

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