Liquor Laboratory

Jim Beam vs Wild Turkey: Which Bourbon is Better? (2024)

jim beam vs wild turkey

Today, we have the two greatest bourbon families – Jim Beam vs Wild Turkey going head to head. Many of you will say these two bottles are living off of their past achievements and prime but really, which one is better?

In this in-depth comparison, let’s discover the differences between these two and determine which whiskey wins.

Jim Beam & Wild Turkey Bourbon Battle 

Jim Beam & Wild Turkey

Comparing Wild Turkey with Jim Beam is like comparing Coca-Cola and Pepsi. They have something in common, like their category and some similarities in flavor, but they have big differences.

The two whiskeys have rich histories and origins and use different production and maturation processes.

Wild Turkey is aged longer than Jim Beam and has higher alcohol proof than the latter. Moreso, Wild Turkey has higher alcohol proof than Jim Beam. 

Main Differences 

Main Differences 

History & Origin

Wild Turkey began its journey in the 1940s, and its name came after the annual wild turkey hunting trip of a distillery executive and his friends. It was 1942 when Austin Nichols started to bottle the Wild Turkey Kentucky straight bourbon. 

On the other corner comes Jim Beam and its seven generations of master distillers, more than 200 years of experience, and countless challenges. Jim Beam was released in 1795 under the supervision of Master Distiller Jacob Beam. 

Production & Maturation

Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey uses non-GMO grains and water from the Kentucky River. The distillery uses Wild Turkey’s original yeast strain for fermentation, which will undergo double distillation in a continuous still before maturation. 

Jim Beam starts their production process with their secret recipe and water from the Kentucky River. The distillery uses an 89-year-old yeast for the fermentation, which is twice distilled in column stills before maturation. 

Straight bourbon whiskies should be aged for at least two years [1]. However, Wild Turkey aged their bourbons for five, six, eight years, or more because they are not a fan of doing minimum.

On the other hand, Jim Beam is aged four years, obviously shorter than Wild Turkey. 

Mash Bill

Wild Turkey uses 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley and takes pride in using non-GMO grains [2].

On the other hand, Jim Beam uses a mash bill with the same ratio as Wild Turkey: 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley. 

However, what makes them different is the proof where the spirits go into the barrel. Wild Turkey goes into the barrel at 114 proof, while Jim Beam goes in the barrel at 125 proof. 

Read: Jack Daniel’s vs Wild Turkey

Age Statement & Alcohol Proof

Jim Beam Devil's Cut

Both Jim Beam and Wild Turkey do not bear an age statement but based on their official websites, they have different maturation periods. Jim Beam is aged for four years, while Wild Turkey is aged for five years or more. 

In addition, Wild Turkey contains 81 alcohol proof (40.5% ABV) while Jim Beam has 80 alcohol proof (40% ABV). 

Ownership & Distillery

Beam Suntory from Japan owns Jim Beam, and James B. Beam Distilling Co. produces every bottle in Clermont, Kentucky. 

Campari Group from Italy owns Wild Turkey, and Wild Turkey Distilling Co. produces every bottle in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. 

Read: Wild Turkey 101 vs Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Tasting Notes

Tasting Notes

Jim Beam 

  • Palate: Medium-bodied, mellow, vanilla, caramel, sweet 
  • Nose: Spicy backdrop, oaky vanilla 
  • Color: Medium amber
  • Finish: Short length, thin, sweet, with notes of oak

Wild Turkey

  • Palate: Full-bodied, layered, sweet, fruity
  • Nose: Strong, deep vanilla, cinnamon, black pepper, soft and chewy aroma
  • Color: Pale gold
  • Finish: Medium length, thick, viscous, pleasant warmth with notes of dried fruit, oak, and sweet vanilla

Price Point & Value 

Wild Turkey Bottles

The price difference between Jim Beam and Wild Turkey is not that high. You can score a 750 ml bottle of Wild Turkey for roughly $22, while a bottle of Jim Beam may cost you around $24. 

Wild Turkey is cheaper by $2 on Drizly online, but both whiskeys are good value for money. 

Jim Beam & Wild Turkey Common Prices

BourbonSizeAlcohol ProofAverage Price
Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey750 ml80Roughly $24
Wild Turkey Bourbon750 ml81Roughly $22

*Average prices are based on Drizly online. Prices may vary in local liquor shops.

FAQs Related to Jim Beam vs Wild Turkey

What are the main differences between Jim Beam and Wild Turkey?

Jim Beam and Wild Turkey are both popular bourbon brands, but they have distinct differences in flavor profiles, mash bills, and aging processes. Jim Beam is known for its lighter and sweeter flavor, while Wild Turkey tends to be bolder and spicier.

Which bourbon has a higher alcohol content, Jim Beam or Wild Turkey?

Wild Turkey typically has a higher alcohol content, often bottled at 101 proof (50.5% ABV) for its flagship expression, whereas Jim Beam is usually bottled at a lower proof, around 80 proof (40% ABV) for its standard offerings.

How much does Jim Beam cost more than Wild Turkey?

Prices for Jim Beam and Wild Turkey can vary depending on factors such as the specific expression, bottle size, and location. Generally, Wild Turkey tends to be slightly more expensive due to its higher proof and longer aging.

How do the flavor profiles of Jim Beam and Wild Turkey compare?

In contrast, Wild Turkey offers a robust and spicy flavor profile, with hints of pepper, cinnamon, and charred oak.

Which bourbon is better for cocktails, Jim Beam or Wild Turkey?

Both Jim Beam and Wild Turkey can be used in cocktails, but the choice depends on personal preference and the desired flavor profile of the cocktail. Jim Beam’s lighter flavor may work well in classic cocktails like the Bourbon Sour, while Wild Turkey’s boldness can stand out in drinks like the Old Fashioned.

Are there any limited edition or special releases for Jim Beam or Wild Turkey?

Both brands occasionally release limited edition or special releases, such as single barrel selections, small batch releases, or special finishes. These releases offer unique tasting experiences but may be harder to find and come at a higher price point.

Final Verdict

Both whiskeys have sweet and spicy notes; however, Jim Beam is oakier while Wild Turkey is fruitier, making Jim Beam a better choice.

The flavor profile of Wild Turkey is versatile, thicker, and viscous, so you can consume it neat, on the rocks, or as cocktails.

Meanwhile, Jim Beam can be harsh and peppery, so you might want to consume it as a mixer. 

If you want a Kentucky hug, go with Wild Turkey but if you want a Kentucky pat, go with Jim Beam. Your choice. 


  1. 5 rules that make it bourbon
  2. From Farm to Fork: Clearing Up the Confusion About Organic and Non-GMO
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