Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon Review

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon Review

Our verdict

Wild Turkey 101 is an incredibly well-priced bourbon with a broad flavor profile ranging from cinnamons and toffee/caramel to an oaky richness. It drinks like a premium bourbon, with a mid-length biting finish.

Overall rating

The longer review

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon has been around for more than 60 years and was created by Master Distiller Jimmy Russel. This popular bourbon has a high rye content and is aged in an American White Oak barrel. The Wild Turkey distillery goes back to 1869; however, the Wild Turkey brand wasn’t established until 1940.

As the legend goes, the Austin Nichol’s president Thomas McCarthy took a bourbon from the distillery to shoot turkeys. His favorite? Just so happened to be the 101 proof. 

During the 2016 Wild Turkey facelift, Matthew McConaughey was the face of the brand. This was hoping that Wild Turkey 101 became more popular to a global audience and more especially women. 

Where is Wild Turkey 101 made?

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon is made in the Wild Turkey distillery, originating from Kentucky, USA. 

Wild Turkey 101 is the higher-proof version of the legendary Wild Turkey straight bourbon we all know and love. It’s aged for 6 years in the virgin white oak barrels and has proof of 50.5%. 

Wild Turkey put their unaged whiskey in the barrels at a lower proof. This means that Wild Turkey 101 is close to a cask strength bourbon. 

wild turkey 101 bourbon bottle and glass

Tasting notes.

What to expect

Here is what you really want to know about Wild Turkey 101. 


You will get a range of flavors. The sweetness in the bourbon will take you through a journey. You’ll find a middle ground somewhere between vanilla, bubblegum, and sweet candy corn - cinnamon and maple bringing a full sweet flavor. 

people tasting wild turkey 101 bourbon

The cinnamon brings a light spice, and the sweetness balances the rest. 


What you have to do before you sip is the sniff. The nose of Wild Turkey 101 starts with strong toffee and caramel scent. However, you will get a strong alcohol scent soon after. What is important now is that the spices, the cinnamon, will begin to make your mouth water. That warming spice works with the multiple layers of oak and butterscotch. 

You’ll enjoy sniffing this bourbon, and the sweet nose gives you insight into the taste you’re about to enjoy. 

Although you will be expecting peppery, spicy, and a big hit of rye, you are more likely to get apples, plumbs, and toffee. Neither of which is bad; it just isn’t what you might expect. 

man smelling wild turkey 101 bourbon

After you have the deep sniff and the first sip, you will get to enjoy a medium-length biting finish. The after taste is on the dry side, so you would do well to have snacks on hand to enjoy with the Wild Turkey 101. You might be expecting a long-lasting spice, but you’re likely to get a much shorter finish than you think. 

It is a bold drink and not one for those who don’t like to taste the alcohol in their alcohol. 


Wild Turkey 101 is deep, rich gold. You’d describe this as burnished on the color scale and a reflection of its toffee and caramel notes. 

wild turkey 101 bourbon barrels

The Whiskey Rocks verdict.

Is it good?

This bourbon walks a fine line between spices, sweetness, the alcohol’s strength, and the oakiness. Wild Turkey is renowned for its high-rye mixes, and even their cheapest bourbon packs a considerable punch. 

Wild Turkey is a big brand in the USA and is synonymous with high-quality and tasteful bourbons. If you have been a fan of the brand, you will know that in 2016 the brand had an overhaul, and the packaging was given an upgrade. Part of the overhaul was to put a more apparent distinction between Wild Turkey and Wild Turkey 101. 

It is America’s most prominent selling premium bourbon for a reason, though. 

Wild Turkey is known for its distinctive profile, and that is exactly what you get with the Wild Turkey 10. The maturation of the heaviest char #4 barrel is up to 8 years. What do they do that is so outstanding? The spice is infused into a low mash bill of only 13% rye. 

Jim Murray reviewed this in 2016; he said it was by far the best 101 he had tasted in a decade. “You simply can’t do anything but go weak at the knees with that spice attack.”

It should be noted that this isn’t an entry-level bourbon; it is a bourbon for those who love the deep flavor and a spicy-sweet mix that comes with an incredible price tag.

Ashleigh Cain

Ashleigh is a key part of the editorial team at Whiskey Rocks. You'll often find her either writing educational articles or reviewing the latest artisan whiskeys. Her favorite drink? Ashleigh loves smokey scotches like Laphroaig, but you'll also often find her with an old fashioned in hand.

Pepperjam Verification

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