Wild Turkey Rare Breed Review – Kentucky Bourbon With Soul

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The Wild Turkey Distillery has a great range of whiskies from Bourbons to Rye, Single Barrels, Reserves, and liqueurs. It’s the Wild Turkey Rare Breed that we will focus on but not before taking a quick look at the history of this distillery.

Austin Nichols started selling wine and spirits in 1855, which become the Wild Turkey Distillery in 1869. After surviving prohibition in the 1930s, Wild Turkey got the official name after a hunting trip. Jimmy Russell joined the Wild Turkey distillery team in 1954 after learning his trade from Ernest W. Ripy, the son of the original distiller. Now with 60 years as a master distiller, he is the longest-tenured master distiller in the world, nicked by some as the Buddha of Bourbon. In 1981, his son Eddie joined the team, making the father and son master distillers one of a kind.

Wild Turkey has managed to create a couple of world time firsts in the whiskey industry. They were the first to create a bourbon liqueur, the first steps of Wild Turkey’s American Honey. Another first was the introduction of the barrel proof bourbon, the premium Rare Breed.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed

Wild Turkey Overview

All of the Wild Turkey whiskies use water from the Kentucky River, which is then filtered through limestone to take away any iron and other impurities. The yeast is an original strain that has been used for more than 60 years. Jimmy Russel has always insisted that all of the Wild Turkey whiskies are completely natural with no GMO ingredients. The America White Oak barrels have a no.4 char, which provides a unique color and flavor. All of the whiskies are aged for a minimum of 5 years.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed

The Wild Turkey Rare Breed is a burnt umber color. The mash bill is 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barely. It’s not sure how long it has been aged for, but we do know it’s a blend of 6 to 12-year-old bourbon. It has an alcohol level of 58.4% ABV, 116.8 proof.

On the Nose

There is a nice heat on the nose, it’s dark and sweet with a lovely oaky aroma. You will also notice a good amount of caramel and vanilla and even cinnamon and licorice. It could be the rye but some of us picked up some grape and this tends to grow as you swirl the bourbon in the glass. The movement also releases nice citrus and burnt wood smell.

On the Palate

If you have ever tried one of the other Wild Turkey whiskies, you won’t be disappointed. You have the quality of flavors you would expect, starting with rich caramel and vanilla. This comes before the spice of cinnamon, apples, and licorice. You can’t miss the burnt oak from those No.4 barrels. There is a good amount of heat, but not so much that you feel a burn. The finish of this whiskey is sweet with notes of honey and citrus. You are left with a delicious fruity oak that is truly superb and smooth.


Wild Turkey Rare Breed Awards

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon

With two master distillers, Eddie Russell joining the Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2010, it’s understandable that the Wild Turkey Rare Breed has so many won so many awards. Here are just some of them:

  • 2010 Beverage Tasting Institute- 93 Points
  • 2010 International Wine & Spirits Competition- Silver medal & Best in Class
  • 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition- Silver Medal
  • 2010 Ultimate Spirits Challenge- 92 Points- Excellent, Strong Recommendation
  • 2011 Beverage Tasting Institute- 92 Points
  • 2011 San Francisco World Spirits Competition- Gold Medal
  • 2011 Ultimate Spirits Challenge- 93 Points, Excellent, Highly Recommended
  • 2012 International Wine & Spirit Competition- Gold Medal, Outstanding
  • 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition- Gold Medal
  • 2013 Beverage Tasting Institute- 93 Points- Gold Medal, Exceptional
  • 2014- International Wine & Spirits Competition- Silver Medal
  • 2016 san Francisco World Spirits Competition- Double Gold Medal


As you can see from the awards list, the Wild Turkey Rare Breed gets better each year.

Read next – Eagle Rare Bourbon Review – Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey!

How to Drink Wild Turkey Rare Breed?

It’s a strong whiskey with so much flavor it is perfect to drink neat. Ice and water can be added if you feel like it is a little too strong, but we found that just a few drops really helped to enhance the flavor. If you looking to add a mixer, here are some perfect cocktails to enjoy your Wild Turkey Rare Breed.

Kentucky Mule

A Kentucky twist to the traditional Moscow Mule, this is a great treat for those long summer days.

  • 2 parts Wild Turkey Rare Breed
  • ¾ oz ginger syrup
  • ¾ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Splash of Angostura bitters
  • Soda water

Add all of the ingredients except the soda to a cocktail shaker and mix well. Add some ice to a tall glass and strain the mixture into the glass. Add soda to taste as well as lime and mint to garnish if you want.

Read next – 1792 Bourbon Review – The Heart of Bourbon Country in Kentucky!

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Review

Bourbon Bramble

This is the ideal way to bring out the darker fruit flavors of the whiskey and although great for summer, we liked it as a good year rounder too.

  • 2 parts Wild Turkey Rare Breed
  • ¾ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • ½ oz BlackBerry liqueur
  • Blackberries (fresh preferred)

Add the whiskey, syrup, and lemon juice to your shaker with crushed ice and shake. In a short glass, muddle some blackberries (mash with a pestle). Pour the shaker ingredients over the muddled blackberries and then pour the liqueur on top. You can add a few more blackberries and a lemon twist for decoration.

Second Circle

This cocktail has an amazingly rich color and an equally rich taste that you can enjoy in any weather. The port brings a new depth to the drink with a lovely plum flavor.

  • 2 parts Wild Turkey Rare Breed
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 oz. Ruby Port

First, mix the three ingredients in a shaker with some ice. Once it has been well shaken, strain it into a short/rock glass over more ice. If you have some cherries, use one to garnish.

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