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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Lansing, MI

    Blind Rye Tasting Results: A Tale of Three Turkeys

    On the evening of Friday, June 27, 2008, three of us sat down at our respective computers to record our impressions of three blind samples. Tasters were aware of the theme of the tasting, but were not aware of the contents of the specific samples:

    Current Wild Turkey Rye 101 (Blind Sample "A")
    Current Russell’s Reserve Rye 90 (Blind Sample "B")
    Dusty Wild Turkey Rye 101 (Blind Sample "C")

    Several members sent various samples to ACDetroit. ACDetroit put the samples into empty, clean 50ml bottles, labeled the bottles as A, B, and C, and shipped the bottles to the tasters.
    At the appointed time, the tasters met in a gmail chat room and recorded impressions of the three samples. All three tasters knew that the three samples were rye whiskeys, were produced by Wild Turkey (though RRR does not explicitly indicate so), and were of varying ages and proofs.
    What follows is a direct transcript, edited only for clarity.

    In attendance:

    Dr. Francois

    Part I: Appearance
    ACDetroit: We should look at color on all three first to compare.
    Dr. Francois: Yep, let's do that. B is lighter in color than the other two.
    Rake: I have B as slightly lighter as well. It's close.
    ACDetroit: I feel "B" is just a hue lighter as well with A&C almost the same
    Rake: Probably B, A, C to my eyes, from darker to lighter.. But again, very similar.
    Dr. Francois: Yep. Very similar, overall.

    Part II: Nose/Aroma
    Rake: Wow. I got my nose waaay down in A and got a lot of alcohol.
    ACDetroit: WOAH! All three nose very different. Sample A seems to have a lot of mint and Rye crisp to it.
    Dr. Francois: I agree...sample A has a sparkly mint nose. Sample B is much more mild.
    ACDetroit: "B" seems to be a little bit muddled compared to "A," but similar
    Rake: Once I backed up I got the rye spice and mint on sample A. A little spice on sample B.
    Dr. Francois: Sample C has a more aged, wispy quality...more leathery.
    ACDetroit: "C" has a rich almost tea in the nose. I agree with Doc.
    Rake: I'm mostly getting a soft candy-like sweetness from C.
    ACDetroit: I can see that, Rake. almost a candied mint
    Dr. Francois: I lean more toward a mint-blended tea….unsteeped....before it went into water
    Rake: What you guys are getting is there but very fleeting. Like first in the nose and then dissipating to the candy note.
    Dr. Francois: How would you rank the nose, from most appealing to least appealing?
    ACDetroit: A,C,B
    Dr. Francois: A, C, B
    Rake: C seems less like a rye but I like it better than B. Rank: A, C, B.
    ACDetroit: Wow that's interesting! All the same.
    Dr. Francois: Let's drink some whiskey
    ACDetroit: Shall we drink!!
    Rake: Indeed

    Part III: Tasting
    --Sample A
    ACDetroit: "A" on the palate
    Dr. Francois: Exceptionally light. Sparkly. Mint. Candy on the finish
    ACDetroit: Very! The nose is stronger than the entry! But very similar
    Rake: Light on the front of the tongue; Minty, spicy explosion on the back.
    Dr. Francois: wow...I want more.
    ACDetroit: Sample A leaves the tongue tingling in the back and the front begging for more.
    Dr. Francois: Reminds me of a very, very aged rye...like saz 18 or Handy
    ACDetroit: Getting a little coriander on the back of the tongue finish! I've never got that before.
    Rake: Almost like cinnamon candy lingering on the back of the tongue and throat...my throat is definitely tingling...in a good way.
    Dr. Francois: I describe that sensation as sparkly
    Rake: Sparkly is a good description.
    ACDetroit: I'm surprised with a great nose, the mouth feel is thinner than I anticipated.
    ACDetroit: Sample A is very clingy to the glass as well.
    Dr. Francois: Shall we move onto B?

    --Sample B
    ACDetroit: The legs on "B" are very thin and stream down the glass quickly!
    Rake: The nose is not doing it for me.
    Dr. Francois: Flat, uneventful. more beer like...like the back end of a over-brewed porter.
    ACDetroit: I get corn oil up front with the Rye flavor fumbling in at the end.
    Dr. Francois: Tastes like a weaker whiskey amped up to taste like something.
    Rake: I'm getting almost a paint thinner quality on the nose, grass, grass, and more grass, although it does linger and brighten a bit.
    ACDetroit: Yeah Rake, I'm getting the grass or husk taste a lot as well. Finish is like Doc says: uneventful and short at best.
    Rake: The fumbling for something at the end is the best aspect for me, but that's not saying much.
    ACDetroit: I'll second that!
    Dr. Francois: Like a drunk 17 year old on prom night...
    Rake: Precisely.
    ACDetroit: A minute 29, my personal best!
    Rake: Heh.
    Dr. Francois: noob… Sample C?
    ACDetroit: B-)
    Rake: Sure.
    ACDetroit: I'm in, I can't wait to be done with "B"

    --Sample C
    ACDetroit: The nose reminds me of the ND OGD 114 I opened at My buddy’s house.
    Dr. Francois: REDEMPTION!
    Dr. Francois: Similar profile to A. Richer and oakier, though. more of that leather/tea I noticed on the nose.
    ACDetroit: WOW! The mouth feel is buttery. smooth and very nice.
    Rake: As the KFC commercial says: I like flavor.
    ACDetroit: Lots of wood in the finish and that tea and mint floating around. This one has some sexy legs on the glass as well.
    Dr. Francois: Classic profile...spicy and full. legs for miles.
    ACDetroit: I agree with that! Spicy and full nails it!
    Rake: I'm getting the butter and good heat, like a spicy cinnamon roll. Spice and heat: excellent!
    ACDetroit: Yep! Loving "C.”

    Part IV: Final Rankings
    Rake: I'm pretty set on C, A, B. C has more of that "spicy, full" profile that I prefer.
    ACDetroit: C,A,B.
    Dr. Francois: I agree, though A certainly has its charms...My ranking would be C, A, lots of other stuff, then B
    ACDetroit: Right!
    Rake: Sample C seems more like Handy, which is perhaps my favorite rye of them all.

    Decision: Unanimous.
    Overall Favorite: Sample C: Wild Turkey 101 (Dusty)
    Second Favorite: Sample A: Wild Turkey 101 (Current)
    Least Favorite: Sample B: Russell’s Reserve Rye 90 (Current)

    Dr. Francois: I really like the current WTR101. Lighter, a good sub for any rye I've tasted.
    ACDetroit: Yeah, I'm impressed with it as well, for the price.
    Dr. Francois: more rye tasting than Baby Saz or Beam products.
    Rake: I need a bottle, for sure.

    The "dusty" sample of Wild Turkey Rye 101 was the favorite, though the current WT101 followed close behind. Tasters did not care for the RR90, though some stated that on its own, it wasn't bad. Perhaps the deck was stacked against it.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Dr. François; 06-28-2008 at 21:29.

    “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.”
    --Kurt Vonnegut

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Eastern Pennsylvania

    Re: Blind Rye Tasting Results: A Tale of Three Turkeys

    Interesting. WT-101 is my Monday pour. Every Monday.
    Colonel Joseph B. "Bourbon Joe" Koch

    "Bourbon.....It's cheaper than therapy!!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Austin, Texas

    Re: Blind Rye Tasting Results: A Tale of Three Turkeys

    I agree wholeheartedly with the group. My favorite everyday pour is WT rye 101. Great flavors and a great price.

    While visiting Wild Turkey for a tour, we were lucky enough to meet Jimmy Russels son, Eddie IIRC. He seemed very surprised that a bourbon lover would like the WT rye. He suggested that I step up to RRR, but I shot him down immediately by letting him know that the price to flavor ratio was what kept me coming back.

    I can't remember the last time I bought their regular WT 101, because the rye is so tasty. Please, WT, don't change the rye!

    Thanks to the participants for such an interesting experiment. Well done!

    Jeff Mo.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Re: Blind Rye Tasting Results: A Tale of Three Turkeys

    Very cool post, guys. Thanks! And I'm glad to know that being a tight-wad occasionally pays off.

  5. #5
    Irreverent One
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Heart of the Beaver State

    Re: Blind Rye Tasting Results: A Tale of Three Turkeys

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. François View Post
    Least Favorite: Sample B: Russell’s Reserve Rye 90 (Current)
    Takes the sting out of the RR not being available in Oregon (the bourbon is, but not the rye). Thanks.

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Re: Blind Rye Tasting Results: A Tale of Three Turkeys

    Very interesting, guys. Thanks.

    As I think I have posted on the RRR thread, I was full of anticipation waiting for RRR to come in to the state, months after it appeared on the state list, but was then underwhelmed when I finally got a bottle. When it's gone, I won't be replacing it.

    WTR has always been a favorite (back to the green label days), but it went through a rough patch a few years ago, presumable when supply outran demand. But I think it's almost back on form. It's one of two or three ryes that I make sure to keep on hand at all times. The quality to price ratio is a big bonus.

    "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943

  7. #7
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Re: Blind Rye Tasting Results: A Tale of Three Turkeys

    I agree with Jeff. I was also underwhelmed with RR Rye. I buy the regular
    WT 101 Rye.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    North Alabama

    Thumbs up Re: Blind Rye Tasting Results: A Tale of Three Turkeys

    Quote Originally Posted by Martian View Post
    I agree with Jeff. I was also underwhelmed with RR Rye. I buy the regular
    WT 101 Rye.
    Many thanks for the good write-up. You all have saved me money and disappointment. I love a good rye whiskey but its very hrd to find in Alabama. I stumbled on the WTR 101 last year and have nursed the bottle along for fear of running out. Sadly, there is only a couple of good drams left and I haven't seen another bottle available since I bought the first one.

    I'll hoist one in your honor!
    Often I am forced to deal with the fact that I prefer bourbon over dealing with facts.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Re: Blind Rye Tasting Results: A Tale of Three Turkeys

    WTR101 has been on my list of all-time best values for a long time. I need to do a side-by-side with Ritt BIB, which is also on that list.
    • • •

    I love him whose soul squanders itself, who wants no thanks...for he always gives away and does not want to preserve himself.



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