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  1. #1
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    BOTM, 9/05: Wild Turkey Rare Breed

    Wow, what an exciting finish to determine this months BOTM. We started with six quality contenders and it was so close the winner had to be determined by a run-off. And after the dust had settled and the others had packed up and gone home, Wild Turkey Rare Breed was left standing, proudly earning the title: Straightbourbon.com Bourbon of the Month

    Let's hear what you have to say!

    Sound Off

  2. #2
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    Re: BOTM, 9/05: Wild Turkey Rare Breed

    Last night I just finished a bottle of batch W-T-01-99. This was 108.4 proof. Most people who know me know I enjoy most of the Wild Turkey family, the regular 101, the older Russell's Reserve, my personal favorite Kentucky Spirit and forever I've loved Rare Breed. This bottle was everything I like about Rare Breed. It was full flavored, having some maple, vanilla and sugarcane in both the nose and the palate, the palate then moved to oak and a slightly bitter sting that was a wonderful counter point to the sweet maple. The finish was more of the same flavors mixing and lingering on the tongue for quite a while. Fortunately I have another bottle from this batch in the closet!!

    Ken

  3. #3
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    Re: BOTM, 9/05: Wild Turkey Rare Breed

    Last night I just finished a bottle of batch W-T-01-99. This was 108.4 proof. Most people who know me know I enjoy most of the Wild Turkey family, the regular 101, the older Russell's Reserve, my personal favorite Kentucky Spirit and forever I've loved Rare Breed. This bottle was everything I like about Rare Breed. It was full flavored, having some maple, vanilla and sugarcane in both the nose and the palate, the palate then moved to oak and a slightly bitter sting that was a wonderful counter point to the sweet maple. The finish was more of the same flavors mixing and lingering on the tongue for quite a while. Fortunately I have another bottle from this batch in the closet!!
    Tasting for notes is not our forte, but, as WT Rare Breed was BOTM, we thought we'd give it a go. We also have the WT-01-99 108.4 proof bottling. Not sure how long this has been sitting on the shelf here, probably 18-24 months. It was about 3/4 gone, but we really can't remember the last time we poured. We think we poured most of it in the first few months of having it, then let it sit except for a small pour here and there. Up front, we didn't have negative preconceptions about it; quite the opposite. Heck, I (Dave) consider(ed) myself a Rare Breed fan. Our impressions tonight:

    Dave - Nose: Honey/lemon/other citrus with a hint of oak; after a few minutes, something floral.

    Mouth: initially at full proof, all bite, too much even to begin characterizing flavors, nothing really "big" like one would expect from a higher end premium bourbon at high proof; after water, light caramel with a buttery tongue coating - pleasant.

    Finish: Warm, fairly fleeting caramel again with a slight burn.

    Tina - (opinion coerced, she was very reluctant to give her impressions) Nose: Caramel and oranges.

    Mouth: Very different than expected based on nose - biting, spicy, peppery.

    Finish: Too hot.

    Overall, both of us were underwhelmed, especially at the current price of $38 in VA. Can't really see replacing this bottle anytime soon. Will probably use the last of this bottle to do a blind tasting with WT 101 and RR 101 to see if we get humbled, or if our impression is correct that RB is NOT the best WT value or even straight out taste to our palates.

    No offense meant to those who love it. Frankly, I was REALLY surprised at my impressions. I expected them to be much more like the quote above. Maybe my taste buds are off today. Then again, Tina is never wrong!

  4. #4
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    Re: BOTM, 9/05: Wild Turkey Rare Breed

    I tasted the same bottling recently. I found it very good, with an interesting "old bourbon" nose reminding me of the odd pre-Pro whiskey I've tasted. I wonder if it might derive, not from No. 4 barrels but the blending of three ages since the old-time whiskey, at least the medicinal straight whiskey, probably was a compound of complex origins. The taste was not quite as good as the nose: the youngest whiskey in the mingling obtruded and I got some clear barnyard notes in some sips; did anyone get that as well? Still, overall it was satisfying.

    I tend to agree that for the price, there are others I would choose first but also I think you are paying for the extra proof.

    Gary

  5. #5
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    Re: BOTM, 9/05: Wild Turkey Rare Breed

    Overall, both of us were underwhelmed, especially at the current price of $38 in VA. Can't really see replacing this bottle anytime soon. Will probably use the last of this bottle to do a blind tasting with WT 101 and RR 101 to see if we get humbled, or if our impression is correct that RB is NOT the best WT value or even straight out taste to our palates.

    No offense meant to those who love it. Frankly, I was REALLY surprised at my impressions. I expected them to be much more like the quote above. Maybe my taste buds are off today. Then again, Tina is never wrong!
    You know, Dave, I find this all the time (I expect it's ONE reason I'll never be a professional taster). I have never(?) had a Bourbon that, at least once during the bottle didn't taste just terrible. It's me. I don't know if it's something I ate or what, but I'm used to it now. One of the 'growth' things I've realized recently, I now take several days to decide what I think about a Bourbon.

    Enjoy,

    Ken

  6. #6
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    Re: BOTM, 9/05: Wild Turkey Rare Breed


    You know, Dave, I find this all the time (I expect it's ONE reason I'll never be a professional taster).
    Much more fun to be an amateur anyway - a lot less pressure! We're with you!

    I have never(?) had a Bourbon that, at least once during the bottle didn't taste just terrible.
    Interesting. I can't say I agree with the intensity of your statement, but I have certainly had experiences where a bourbon I generally like just doesn't grab me the way I expected. Conceptually, I've experienced the same phenomenon many times, just not as extreme.

    One of the 'growth' things I've realized recently, I now take several days to decide what I think about a Bourbon.
    A point well taken. I will add that speaking of growth, this site has helped us tremendously in our tasting, and our tasting habits have changed a lot. The most significant thing that has changed is that before visiting this site in March 2004, probably 90% of my bourbon was enjoyed on ice. Now it's more like 15%. Therefore I wonder - most of my RB experiences previously were over ice. Could THIS be the culprit in my change in perception? Maybe, just maybe. Much like some bourbons mix well, I'm sure some improve with ice. Could RB be one of those? I think it might be for me. We might buy another bottle after all to test this out - but only if it's on sale!

  7. #7
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    Re: BOTM, 9/05: Wild Turkey Rare Breed


    Interesting. I can't say I agree with the intensity of your statement, but I have certainly had experiences where a bourbon I generally like just doesn't grab me the way I expected. Conceptually, I've experienced the same phenomenon many times, just not as extreme.
    Okay "terrible" was too extreme, more what you said. Just not a good as it had been. This used to confuse me a lot until I took several days in a row with the same bottle. Now I see the shift and recognise it. One of the things I find with Kentucky Spirit is I seem to have fewer of those days... Also interesting....

    Ken

  8. #8
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    Re: BOTM, 9/05: Wild Turkey Rare Breed

    I have to agree with this. I have had several bottles that tasted, well, disfavorable at first sip, then later were top notch. Most notably, Elmer T. Lee single barrel, did not care for it at first and now it is one of my favorites. Working on some ancient ancient age as we speak...

  9. #9
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    Re: BOTM, 9/05: Wild Turkey Rare Breed

    I've never grown fond of Rare Breed, preferring basically any other Turkey product that comes to proof (100+). However, that opinion was based just on one bottle.

    I have had an opened WT-01-99 for at least 3 years that I come back to every few months. It may have gotten better during that time, and has almost certainly lost many of the more gentle notes by now. It never grew on me, but I've never sought out another bottling to confirm that it wasn't just that one, as the standard 101, the 12yr, or most of all the 101 Reserve that Mr. Russell has been picking out especially for me and 50,000 of his other closest friends has always satisfied (and if 50,000 Elvis fans can't be wrong, neither could 50,000 Jimmy fans). Now that it will be only 90% of what Mr. Russell intended, maybe I'll give Rare Breed another try.

    By the way, what whiskey WILL be 100% of what Mr. Russell intended?

    Roger - Jimmy never done me wrong - Hodges

  10. #10
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    Re: BOTM, 9/05: Wild Turkey Rare Breed

    Roger,

    By the way, what whiskey WILL be 100% of what Mr. Russell intended?
    Here's an old post of mine that touches on this point. I've never seen an adequate answer.

    It just may be that management has transformed Mr. Russell's high standards into nothing but ad copy. I'd bet there's nothing he can do about that. I hope for his sake that no one asks him to autograph a bottle of 90 proof "Russell's Reserve".

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

 

 

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