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Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon Review: In-Depth Guide For 2024

Wild Turkey 101 Review

Last Updated on March 5, 2024 by Lydia Martin

A remarkable bourbon doesn’t always carry a high price tag, and that’s what Wild Turkey 101 is about.  

In this Wild Tukey 101 bourbon review, you’ll see how far this expression can go and what it offers to give you a remarkable experience when it comes to tasting notes and overall value. Keep reading.

Everything About Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey 101 KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey Bottle

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon is the company’s flagship brand, distilled at a very low proof.

It absorbs all the barrel flavoring during the aging process and comes out at around 109-proof.

After dilution, it is bottled at 101-proof, closed to a barrel entry-proof spirit. Using char #4 barrels helps create Wild Turkey’s flavor profile and color. 

With the expertise of Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, the final product is packed with classic bourbon flavors and a medium finish–perfect for drinking with friends. 

Quick Stats 

DistilleryWild Turkey Distillery 
Whiskey Type & RegionBourbon/Kentucky, USA
Barrel Proof101 
Mash Bill75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley 
Average PriceAround $26.99/750ml (Drizly)


On the swirl of the glass, the nose releases vanilla scents along with rye grain and baking spices.

Sniff deeper, and light oak, toffee, brown sugar, and ethanol appear, reminding you of Wild Turkey 101’s alcohol content.  


pouring Wild Turkey 101 Bottle on a Glass

A light corn oil presence immediately makeups the first sip for a good mouthfeel, complemented with a blend of spices, baked goods, and rye notes. 

The palate is also well-rounded, with hints of vanilla and toasted oak. The caramel, cinnamon, honey, and peppermint spice become noticeable as you go deeper.  


Rye spice upfront with the sweetness of light caramel, vanilla, and oak hints.

But the sweetness of the taste quickly fades, leaving a spicy note, lingering to a smooth mid-finish. 

Interesting Facts About Wild Turkey 101 

History & Origin

Wild Turkey Distillery

Austin, Nichols & Co. started Wild Turkey in the 1940s [1].

The brand got its name from the idea of Thomas McCarthy, the executive vice president of Austin’s Nichols & Co at that time.  

They didn’t distill, though, and chose to source bourbon from different sites, including the Ripy Brothers Distillery [2].

The process continues, and that’s how WT begins until what it is now today.  

Production Process 

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon whiskey comprises 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley.

The grains are cooked, fermented, and distilled before aging using American white oak barrels.

“The key to Wild Turkey’s flavor is we continue to do the same thing day in and day out.”

— Jimmy Russell, Master Distiller

It then goes straight to the bottle at 50.5% ABV. The spirit’s high-rye content resulted also resulted in one of the most flavorful Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys today.    

Age Statement & Barrel Proof

Wild Turkey Wooden Barrel

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon doesn’t carry an age statement.

But as per WT, it’s a blend of bourbons aged 6 to 8 years before being bottled at 101-proof or 50.5% ABV. 

Value & Uniqueness

Bottle of Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey bourbon is unique as their made with only a single bourbon mash bill. Jimmy Russells enhances and diversifies the flavor profile and tasting notes of its other brands.

But among the expressions, WT 101 Bourbon is by far the most recognizable, not just in terms of notes and flavors but all of the upgraded bottle packaging and design.   

Common Wild Turkey 101 Price 

The price point of Wild Turkey 101 bourbon bottles is just reasonable, considering its high ABV, robust character, and savory profile.

TypeSizeAlcohol ContentAverage Price

Wild Turkey 101 Price
750ml1 Liter
Around $26.99/Around $33.98

**prices above are based on Drizly per 750 ml bottle and may vary depending on liquor stores.   

Compared to Other Bourbons 

Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace is lower-proof compared to Wild Turkey 101. But when it comes to smoothness, Buffalo Trace stands out, and it is cheaper than Wild Turkey.

Go for Wild Turkey if you’re an experienced drinker, but Buffalo Trace is better for beginners. 

Wild Turkey 81

Man Holding Wild Turkey 81 Bottle

The 81 version is low in alcohol but cheaper in price. The 101 version is high in alcohol but more expensive. Though they’re siblings, 101 delivers a better experience. 

The Wild Turkey 81 didn’t stand out in any way compared to the 101 version.

But for newbies, you must try the 81 first, as it’s mellow, but for experienced ones, of course, 101 is the best.  

Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit and Wild Turkey are rich in the rye, but the 101 is better for sipping neat, straight, over ice, or in a cocktail. 

However, if we’re talking about Old-Fashioned, we prefer Bulleit bourbon due to its nutmeg, cherry, and dried fruit notes that are hard not to notice.

Also, it pairs well with orange zest.   

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you drink Wild Turkey 101 straight?

Yes. You can drink Wild Turkey 101 bourbon straight, neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails.

What is the difference between Wild Turkey and Wild Turkey 101?

The difference is that Wild Turkey 101 has more alcohol content than the regular Wild Tukey bourbon. 

Is Wild Turkey good for beginners?

Wild Turkey is good for beginners, depending on the expression. If we’re talking about the 101, it might be too intense for starters. 

Has Wild Turkey 101 changed?

Wild Turkey 101 stayed the same, except for the bottle design, which the company re-design to suit and meet the standards of the bourbon community. 

Is Wild Turkey 101 bourbon or whiskey?

Wild Turkey 101 is a bourbon, a specific type of whiskey that must adhere to strict legal requirements, including being made from a mash bill containing at least 51% corn, distilled to no more than 160 proof, and aged in new charred oak barrels.

Wild Turkey 101 meets these criteria, showcasing the quintessential characteristics of bourbon with a higher alcohol content of 101 proof.

Is Wild Turkey a cheap bourbon?

Wild Turkey is often considered a mid-range bourbon in terms of pricing. While it may not be classified as a budget or cheap bourbon, it offers a favorable balance between quality and affordability.

The pricing can vary based on factors such as location, bottle size, and specific expressions within the Wild Turkey range.

Is Wild Turkey Bourbon top shelf?

Whether Wild Turkey Bourbon is considered top-shelf depends on personal preferences and definitions of what qualifies as top-shelf.

Wild Turkey has a range of expressions, with some, like Wild Turkey Rare Breed, being sought after by enthusiasts and considered top-shelf due to their exceptional quality and limited availability.

However, other Wild Turkey expressions, while well-regarded, may fall into the mid-range category for some whiskey aficionados.

Is Wild Turkey real bourbon?

Yes, Wild Turkey is indeed real bourbon. It is produced in accordance with the legal requirements for bourbon, including the use of at least 51% corn in the mash bill, distillation to no more than 160 proof, and aging in new charred oak barrels.

These factors contribute to Wild Turkey’s classification as a genuine bourbon whiskey.

Is Wild Turkey considered bourbon?

Yes, Wild Turkey is considered bourbon. The brand produces a range of bourbons that adhere to the specific regulations set forth for this type of whiskey.

This includes the use of a mash bill with at least 51% corn, distillation within certain proof limits, and aging in new charred oak barrels.

The adherence to these criteria ensures that Wild Turkey is recognized as a bona fide bourbon in the world of whiskey.

Is Wild Turkey a premium whiskey?

While Wild Turkey offers a range of expressions, it is often positioned as a mid-range whiskey in terms of pricing, providing a favorable balance between quality and affordability.

Some limited editions or specific expressions, such as Wild Turkey Master’s Keep, may be considered premium due to their unique characteristics and higher price point.

Why is bourbon so expensive?

The cost of bourbon can vary based on several factors. High-quality ingredients, meticulous craftsmanship, and longer aging periods contribute to the expense. Limited releases, unique cask finishes, and brand reputation also impact pricing.

Additionally, factors like production scale, packaging, and market demand influence the overall cost of bourbon, making some expressions more expensive than others.

How do you drink Wild Turkey?

Wild Turkey can be enjoyed in various ways depending on personal preferences. Many people savor it neat or on the rocks to appreciate its full flavor profile. Some enjoy it in classic cocktails like an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan.

Diluting it with a splash of water can also enhance certain flavor notes. Ultimately, the best way to drink Wild Turkey is the way that aligns with individual taste preferences.

What is the proper way to drink bourbon?

The proper way to drink bourbon is subjective and depends on personal preferences. Some enthusiasts prefer to drink bourbon neat or on the rocks to experience the full spectrum of flavors.

Others enjoy classic cocktails like the Bourbon Sour or Mint Julep. Experimenting with different serving methods, glassware, and even adding a splash of water can help individuals find the most enjoyable way to appreciate bourbon.

What kind of whiskey is Wild Turkey 101?

Wild Turkey 101 is a bourbon whiskey. As a bourbon, it adheres to specific legal requirements, including a mash bill with at least 51% corn, distillation to no more than 160 proof, and aging in new charred oak barrels.

The “101” in its name denotes its robust proof of 101, providing a higher alcohol content and intensifying the bourbon’s flavor profile.

Known for its bold and rich characteristics, Wild Turkey 101 has become a popular choice among bourbon enthusiasts.

Final Verdict: Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon 

Wild Turkey 101 remains a staple on every bar shelf. It delivers everything a drinker would want in a good sipping American whiskey

It’s a smooth and savory pour with a satisfying alcohol content and profile– enough to be enjoyed while you bond with family and friends at any given moment.  


  1. The history of Wild Turkey
  2. Tour Kentucky’s Wild Turkey distillery
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