Wild Turkey Rare Breed was originally released back in 1991, and is an NAS blend of bourbons from 6 through to 12 years of age. It’s a barrel proof whiskey (read cask strength) that is produced in regular large batches (in case you’re wondering why the ABV varies across different bottlings). Rare Breed received a makeover in 2015 with new, modern and shiny branding – particular the bottle tube, that’s now a particularly shiny gold – and an increased ABV of 56.4%.
Despite being Wild Turkey’s high strength bottling, it is still made with the same mashbill as the more commonly seen expressions, namely 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% barley.
Nose: Surprisingly delicate considering the ABV – sweet grains and corns, toffee, vanilla and caramel are joined by deeper aromas – leather, polished furniture and dusty books. Fruit is not just coming from the orchard with this one (apples and pears), but also from some reduced dark berries (particularly cherries) and plums.
Taste: A soft and creamy mouthfeel delivers bold and impactful flavours right from the get-go – Cinnamon, nutmeg, caraway and allspice lead – combined with high fruitiness in the form of apples, pears, berries, plum and damsons. Cask influence comes through strongly with the higher ABV on offer – vanilla, sawn planking, drying oak and charred wood.
Finish: Medium in length, and still offering steady spiciness.
Wild Turkey Rare Breed is definitely sipping whiskey. Whilst the nose hints at subtlety and delicateness, the palate delivers punchy flavour that has a vein of spiciness and wood running right the way through it. Flavours and aromas are defined and precise and the combination of sweetness and spice is managed exceedingly well. Bold, full-flavoured and yet highly drinkable. Yum.