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Wild Turkey Bourbon (Austin Nichols)

Review: Austin Nichols Wild Turkey Bourbon  90.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published October 19, 2012

According to the Wild Turkey website, Austin Nichols Wild Turkey Bourbon, is composed of a mash bill which includes three grains: corn from Kentucky and Indiana; barley from Montana; and rye grain from North Dakota. Apparently the yeast used in the fermentation has been cultured at the distillery and the actual strains used are kept a closely guarded secret. The whiskey is distilled to a low proof which results in less water needing to be added after maturation to bring the spirit to bottling strength. The belief is that this leads to a fuller more authentic ‘just from the barrel’ flavour.

Wild Turkey, like all American bourbon is aged solely in new white American oak barrels.

In the Bottle  4/5

The Austin Nichols Wild Turkey Bourbon arrives in a standard bar-room whisky bottle. The iconic Wild Turkey logo adds a certain panache to the label, and everything is sealed with a solid plastic cap. This isn’t too fancy, but neither is it too plain.

In the Glass  9/10

The Wild Turkey bourbon displays itself as a nice golden straw colour in the glass with just a tinge of reddish hue. My first snoot of the glass revealed a very nice honey note wrapped in oak spices. The aroma of oak and cedar is firm but not overpowering. Butterscotch and caramel mingle in the air above the glass and combined with that honey note the overall aroma has a bit of a candied flair. Deeper down is some nice tobacco notes, rye and ginger spices and some soft vanilla.

I like this!

In the Mouth  55/60

The Wild Turkey is full of oak and rye spices in the initial delivery. Being a huge fan of rye, I am really liking what I am tasting. Along with the rye and the oak, I taste the sweetness of corn, some honeycomb and tobacco, a nice smattering of cloves, cinnamon and vanilla; and a light dry bitterness which actually works well with the overall flavour.

The overall impression I have is that this is a bourbon I can really warm up to. It has a nice robust flavour without being cloying in any way, and that strong rye note just rocks me in all the right ways!

In the Throat  13.5/15

At the exit, the bourbon re-gathers itself with a nice rush of oak and rye spices that taste great. Indistinct trails of sweet honey, cloves, vanilla, corn and cinnamon are left in my throat. This is very nice.

The Afterburn  9/10

Wild Turkey is an excellent bourbon. I love the obvious rye in the flavour profile, and I really appreciate how this particular bourbon doesn’t clog up my throat with an overkill of oak and cedar. This is far more approachable than other bourbon whiskeys I have tasted, with a medium-light body that appeals to me both for sipping and for a little cocktail exploration.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Cocktail

Arctic Wolf’s Northern Mint Julep

5 sprigs of Mint
2 oz Wild Turkey Bourbon
1/4 oz Sugar syrup

ginger-ale to fill

Muddle 4 Sprigs of Mint and the Sugar syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass
Add the Wild Turkey Bourbon
Stir and fine strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice
Complete with ginger-ale
Garnish with another Sprig of mint


I am sometimes asked what my numbers actually mean. In order to provide clarification, you may (loosely) interpret the scores 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 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)


4 Responses to “Wild Turkey Bourbon (Austin Nichols)”

  1. Mark said

    Please review more bourbon! I’d love to see your take on Booker’s.

    • Hi Mark

      I do have a couple of bourbons in my review queue. Knob Creek, and Buillet Bourbon. It is however, difficult to obtain bourbon samples in Alberta, where Canadian Whisky and Scotch are much more prevalent. I will though keep trying as I would love to know my take on Booker’s too.

      Cheers Chip

  2. AlbertE said

    Hi Chip, what is the proof of the reviewed whiskey? The proof is not visible on the picture, and the labels on their site look differently. Thank you, Albert

    • Hi Albert

      Thanks for the question, as this product is available in several different formats and I should have mentioned the proof of my bottle in the review. The bottle I reviewed is available here in Alberta, and the alcohol by volume stated on the bottle is 40 %.


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