Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Whiskey Wednesday: Thanksgiving Turkey

I always try to emphasize American whiskies as Thanksgiving approaches, and what better whiskey to taste leading up to Thanksgiving than Wild Turkey.

Today we will be tasting two of Wild Turkey's popular premium Bourbons: Rare Breed and American Spirit. Rare Breed is a barrel proof Bourbon with no age statement. American Spirit is a 15 year old Bottled in Bond Bourbon, meaning it is 100 proof.

As you will note from the picture, the American Spirit comes in a wooden box which is supposed to be fancy but always reminds me of a casket. As a result, when I remove the Bourbon from its case, I always feel like I'm disturbing the dead -- vampire Bourbon, because, you know, vampires are popular these days.

Both of these Bourbons are very popular among Turkey lovers.

Let's Taste...

Wild Turkey Rare Breed, Barrel Proof, 54.1% alcohol ($35)

Sweet caramel on the nose, with some Cognac and wood. The flavor has both sweetness and spice in equal measures, with a good measure of wood. A few drops of water really brings out the wood in this one, as well as some pine, mint and banana flavors.

Wild Turkey American Spirit, 15 years old, Bottled in Bond, 50% alcohol ($70)

Fabulous nose with a rich, sweet, heavily wooded old-whiskey smell. The richness carries on to the taste with a nice, chewy texture. This one is for those who like them old and strong. There is lots of wood, but it's not over oaked, and the sweetness is mingled throughout. Water really opens this one up and brings out some rye spice, though at the expense of some of the wood.

These are both fine whiskies and good exemplars of the Wild Turkey flavor. The side by side nature of this tasting shows the American Spirit to be the far more interesting and complex of the pair, with layers of flavor in every sip.

My recommendation would be to integrate both Bourbons into your Thanksgiving Day, with a bit of Rare Breed before the meal and a snifter of American Spirit afterward, prior to drifting off into a happy sleep.

Happy (Wild) Turkey Day!

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