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Old Wild Turkey Rye from '97

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This year I had found a bottle of Wild Turkey Rye with the old green label that was bottled in 1997. Courtesy of Gary's and Mark's requests, I felt it only fitting to pop one open for a taste! I figured I would share these tasting notes here as well instead of just in the collectibles forum.

So I take off the foil and sure enough, the top comes off in my hand with the cork still in the bottle. My first broken cork. Thankfully I was able to extract the rest with a wine bottle cork screw. I've got a bottle of the current WT101 rye but don't have a bottle of the RR6. It hasn't shown up here in AZ yet. However, I did just crack open my first bottle of Rittenhouse BIB, so that makes a perfect trio of 100-101 proof ryes.

When looking at them in the bottle, the old WT rye and the Rittenhouse are very close in color. The new WT rye is noticeably lighter.

The Rittenhouse and old WT rye have a nice nose with some wood, while the new WT rye had more of a light perfumey nose with little to no wood in comparison.

Both the old WT rye and Rittenhouse had a very nice spice and candy taste with the Rittenhouse tending more towards candy while the old WT had a nice balance between the two. The new WT rye was more on the spice side, but not too complex. It had some fruit flavor and tasted maybe a little vegetal? Does that make sense?

The finish is much the same. The new WT rye isn't much compared to the other two. The old WT rye was the best with a nice warm candy finish that lasted the longest of the three. The Rittenhouse was similar but didn't last as long.

Overall the old WT rye and the Rittenhouse were very close, but in this test the old WT rye comes out slightly ahead because of the nice finish and was my favorite. It is pretty clear to me that the WT rye has changed from this old bottling date of '97 to the current expression. And while the hard to find old WT rye is very good, the even better news is that the readily available Rittenhouse BIB is very similar! And finally, I'm not trying to discredit the new WT rye. It is indeed good, just different from these other two ryes.

If anyone else has one of these old bottles open, I'd love to hear you comments as well. I've seen a couple of others on this board with bottles from the 90's but never anything older than that.

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  • 11 months later...

Well, the previous thread I used to post about my '92 WT rye has been closed out so I thought I'd just piggyback on this one. It was almost three years ago that I got these bottles and spurred on by my tasting of (ri)1 tonight and the holiday season, I decided to finally open one of the "Christmas label" ryes.

Okay, the laid back character of the premium Beam rye is blown out in this one. A big punch at 101 vs 92 proof, but no harshness! That rye flavor is there. Leather maybe. Must. Funk. Has to be balanced by the other flavors. When it's too much, like in some 6 yr old Saz, it's unpleasant, but when well balanced, as in this old WT rye, it's the essence of rye. This was the first rye whiskey I ever tried. Up in the Catskills. With a red-headed woman of Boston Brahmin stock. Hunting lodge. Wood burning stove. The woman is long gone, along with one of the finest dogs I've ever been lucky enough to meet, but this bottle I just opened (along with two others bunkered behind it) can take me back instantly. It's good stuff!

At half the price of (ri)1, this old WT rye is twice the whiskey. I prefer even the current incarnation to Rittenhouse. I remember Gillman sampling an older bottle that he found inferior, but in 1992 things were working very well. This label indicates that the whiskey was DISTILLED in Kenucky whereas others say BOTTLED. This one will see me through the holidays nicely.

If you come across the old green label WT rye, grab it. You won't be sorry.


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and how diiffcult IS it to find one of these older incarnations? all i've had is one from last year...and it was pretty impressive. but then, my rye experience is pretty minimal....WT, OO...and the high rye bourbons...:rolleyes:

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