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Wild Turkey American Honey

Review: Wild Turkey American Honey 82.5/100
a Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka: Arctic Wolf)
Published February 03, 2013

Wild Turkey Bourbon is distilled and bottled by the Austin Nichols division of Campari Group. The distillery located near Lawrenceburg, Kentucky was built by the Riply brothers in 1869, In 1952 by the Gould Brothers purchased the facility which was later bought by Pernod Ricard in 1980 who in turn sold it to the Campari Group in 2009. Wild Turkey American Honey is a bourbon based liqueur crafted from Kentucky Bourbon and wild honey. The spirit is bottled at 35.5 % alcohol by volume.

SAM_0575 American Honey

In the Bottle 4/5

The Wild Turkey American Honey arrives in a stylized standard bar-room whiskey bottle which features the iconic Wild Turkey logo boldly strutting on the inside of the back of the bottle showing through the front bottle (see picture to the left.)  The result is an eye-catching display which adds a certain ambiance to the occasion of bringing the bottle down from the shelf to share with a few friends.

In the Glass 8/10

The bourbon based liqueur shows a rich golden amber in the glass, and when tilted and swirled it demonstrates large fat legs typical of a sweet liqueur. The air above the glass reveals a nice dollop of honey and a firm whiskey spiciness. Butterscotch and glimmers of orange peel mingle with the honey and spice in the breezes giving the liqueur a candied flair. The typical bourbon scents of oak, cedar, tobacco, and vanilla are dampened by the candied aroma but not overwhelmed. Twisting faintly in those breezes above the glass are hints of rye spice in the guise of ginger and cardamom.

I like the aroma although I am wary about the overt sweetness in the air.

In the Mouth 50/60

The American Honey is not overly complex or intimidating. The entry onto the palate is relatively smooth with the sweet honey flavour melded nicely into the bourbon. This tastes much like the nose implies. Honey, butterscotch, and oak with some nice tobacco and vanilla accents. Some of the spiciness reminds me of rye, which is not surprising as Wild Turkey Bourbon is known to have a higher than average rye content.

I tried a few mixed drinks with the American Honey in the company of a few friends of mine. My friends seemed to like mixing with cola, although I found myself enjoying highballs with American Honey and Ginger-ale. The important thing was that we all enjoyed the American Honey both as a mixing spirit and as an after dinner sipper.

In the Throat 12/15

As one would expect the finish is long as the sweetness of honey coats the palate and the throat allowing the whiskey flavour and wood spices to linger. The sweetness can become  cloying, but not nearly so much as in other sweet flavoured whiskies I have tried lately. (I am thinking of Crown Royal Maple where the maple sweetness doesn’t stop.)

The Afterburn 8.5/10

As indicated, the American Honey is a pleasant diversion. I particularly liked how the honey does not drown out the bourbon flavour rather they are blended together nicely in a spirit which is not overly complex but which is quite enjoyable. This flavoured whiskey liqueur is a good mixer in tall cocktails and works well as an aperitif.

You may read some of my other reviews of  Liqueurs and Flavoured Spirits (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe

PassionHoney Passion Cocktail
a cocktail by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)

1 1/2 oz Wild Turkey American Honey
3/4 oz  Vodka
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Cranberry Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 tsp Raspberry Syrup (sweeten to taste)

Strawberry for Garnish

Place the American Honey, Vodka, Fruit Juice, and Raspberry Syrup into a metal shaker
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a large cocktail glass

Garnish with a Skewed Strawberry


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


One Response to “Wild Turkey American Honey”

  1. Banjin Tsuki said

    I appreciate your review and say it was spot on. I’ve only just gotten into drinking whiskey and read your review right after I poured my first Wild Turkey American Honey and I’d say your description is spot on. My inexperienced whiskey palate did not quite pick up the orange peel and thought the oak spice was really strong (a good thing for a old sax player). I am looking forward to reading more of your reviews.

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