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BOTM, 9/05: Wild Turkey Rare Breed


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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 toast.gif

Let's hear what you have to say!

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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!! yum.gif

Ken

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I just poured a glass of WTRB 108.2 proof Batch WT-03RB. Very smooth and well balanced.Even if it wasn't Baker's, this is an excellent choice for BOTM! Very enjoyable! smile.giftoast.gifyum.gif

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Hedmans Brorsa

This is the only WT available in Sweden and only as a special order item - until around a year ago we also had the 8yo 101 proof but it has now been withdrawn. mad.gif

I tried it yesterday (W-T-01-99, 108,4 proof) together with Russell´s Reserve (101 proof) and the 12yo (newer version) and I have to say that it came out somewhat disappointing in comparison. Good, no doubt, but not as exciting as I remember it.

There are probably two reasons for this unexpected letdown :

1. The bottle in question is at least 1 ½ years old and nearing it´s end.

2. Tasting three WT:s in a row could, even with a bit of water added, be an exhausting affair for the tastebuds and the Rare Breed was, due to it´s proof, the last in line.

Anyways, I tried to order a new bottle today. It was temporarily out of stock and I was told that I had to wait with my order until September 9th. frown.gif

Guess I´ll have to restrain myself til then.

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I was never crazy about th WT-01-99 batch, and find the newer WT-03RB batch much more to my liking. Here's hoping you get some from this batch, and find it as enjoyable as I have found it to be.

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Hedmans Brorsa

Here's hoping you get some from this batch, and find it as enjoyable as I have found it to be.

This is perhaps the major disadvantage with special order items, i.e. there´s no chance in the world that you are allowed to specify a certain batch.

The guy I spoke to, however, claimed that all Rare Breed in Sweden was gone and that they were waiting for a shipment from the US, which means chances are good that it will be a different batch.

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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!! yum.gif

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. blush.gif Then again, Tina is never wrong! lol.gif

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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

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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

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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

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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". cry.gif

Yours truly,

Dave Morefield

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I'm having the 01-99 bottling for the first time in several years. Initially I'm getting wood and alcohol heat on the nose. In the mouth its light caramel, spice and the wood carries through from the nose. As others have noted, the finish is somewhat hot and slightly bitter......not unpleasant though. Of the WT products, I love the Tribute and regulalrly drink the RR at my local pub. I'm not a big fan of RB or KY Spirit.....mostly because at their price points I enjoy many other bourbons much more.

Randy

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I hope for his sake that no one asks him to autograph a bottle of 90 proof "Russell's Reserve". cry.gif

Which is why I had him sign a RR 101 for me last year at our BF tour I guess. This was before the announced change so maybe I'm more psychic than spastic for once. bigeyes.gifsmilielol.gifrolleyes.gif

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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!

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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

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After dabling in Single Malt and Blended Scotch for a few years, this was the first "premium" Bourbon I tried. The rest, as they say, is history. Bourbon now out numbers other whisky by four to one or more in my cabinet. I do enjoy Irish Whisky from time to time, but Scotch is now mostly for guests.

I cannot imagine not having WT RB on hand.

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Dave_in_Canada

I almost thought that with a handle like JimR we actually had Jimmy responding to this thread! grin.gif

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Edward_call_me_Ed

I have two open bottles of Rare Breed, one is WT-01-99. The other was decanted from a cask at a department store liquor store. I don't know if that was in contact with the wood or not. Nor do I know if it was WT-01-99 or not. It didn't taste the same. Maybe it was WT-03RB. I couldn't find out from the people selling it. I looked at the information sheet that they had and didn't see anything. And today I bought my first bottle of WT-03RB. I had never seen it before so I was very happy to be able to buy a bottle for BOTM. I also picked up a bottle of RR 101. I also have a bottle of WT 101 8 year old and the 12 year old about the place. I should have a good time tasting and comparing these fine whiskies.

Ed

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I have two open bottles of Rare Breed, one is WT-01-99. The other was decanted from a cask at a department store liquor store. I don't know if that was in contact with the wood or not. Nor do I know if it was WT-01-99 or not. It didn't taste the same. Maybe it was WT-03RB. I couldn't find out from the people selling it. I looked at the information sheet that they had and didn't see anything. And today I bought my first bottle of WT-03RB. I had never seen it before so I was very happy to be able to buy a bottle for BOTM. I also picked up a bottle of RR 101. I also have a bottle of WT 101 8 year old and the 12 year old about the place. I should have a good time tasting and comparing these fine whiskies.

Ed

I did just that last night. Had Arlene pour a 101, a Rare Breed and a Russell's Reserve 101 and a Kentucky Spirit. Lot's of similarities but some notable differences, mostly in the finish. Sorted them all out. The KS came in on top with RB, 101 and RR101. I was very surprized the RR101 came in behind the regular 101.... Odd. Oh well.

Ken

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Edward_call_me_Ed

I was very surprized the RR101 came in behind the regular 101.... Odd. Oh well.

I would have to say that is a Very Good Thing. The RR 101 is fast disappearing, but the regular 101 is here to stay.

Ed

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Oh, I agree, it's great, just very surprizing. I've always enjoyed 101, KS & RB. Never really spent much time with RR101. I found about 10 bottles in NE Ohio (anyone here wants to know where, just let me know) so I thought I should try it before it's gone.

C'est la vie!

Ken

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Okay, I opened my Christmas gift box of Rare Breed that was packed with two beautiful on-the-rocks glasses. The receipt was still with the package and I saw that I had bought it in November, 2003! I opened it especially for this BOTM tasting. cool.gif

The bottling is the seemingly ubiquitous WT-01-99 of 108.4 proof. I washed the glasses that came with it, dried one of them, and had a small (about 30 ml) pour, neat.

I cannot understand what everyone is complaining about. The nose was caramelly and citrusy. In the taste, I detected that WT signature earthiness (like Kentucky Spirit and Russell's Reserve 101 exhibit so boldly), a nice clean corn taste (very like Henry McKenna SB BIB 10-yr), and powerful notes of caramel and citrus. To me, the flavors were almost as balanced as with Blanton's. And, for me, alcohol burn was barely noticeable. It was a wonderful pour.

The next time, I will try it on the rocks, which is the way I have most often enjoyed it in the past.

Tim

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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... cool.gif

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W-T Rare breed has been our group's favorite sipping bourbon every month for the last 3 years glad some of you agree with us see you on my deck any old evening rick toast.gif

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