Turkey with All the Trimmings, Whiskey #4 Wild Turkey Rare Breed

turkeyThanksgiving when I was a little boy was always an adventure.  We were on the way to my Grandma’s house in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Thanksgiving dinner and I remember the drive from Chicago sometimes felt like an eternity.  See my mother really didn’t get along with her in laws, but was always very pleasant once we arrived.  It was impossible for Mom to be nice on the 100 mile drive from our home in southern Cook County!  It was brutal, yelling, slapping, the classical music turned up so loud it made my ears bleed.  You see my mother was really dreading the visit, and she had four kids under the age of 12 in the car that couldn’t make the trip without pushing, shoving and pinching.  Perhaps it was the cigarette smoke from my parents that created the toxic atmosphere as we inhaled enough second hand smoke to kill a horse, or perhaps it was just the need to irritate each other while in closed quarters that made the trip insufferable.  I always looked forward to actually getting there.  Not only did my mom’s tirade cease like a roller coaster coming to a halt, but the food was unbelievable!

Last week I reviewed Wild Turkey 101.  It was like the car trip to grandma’s house, so I was thinking when I started this trip to review Rare Breed I was going to be climbing back into the family truckster for another long interminable trip.  To my pleasant surprise it was more like the arrival with my mother flipping her internal switch to happy mode and the heavy scent of baked turkey, stuffing, ham, sweet potatoes, and apple pie wafting through the open door to greet us, enveloping us in all its deliciousness and tradition.

TurkeyRareBreedWild Turkey Rare Breed is a barrel proof whiskey that is a blend of 12, 8, and 6 year old whiskey straight from the barrel without being diluted with water to artificially contain its proof.  It is 108.4 proof or 54.2% ABV.  With all that alcohol Wild Turkey has tamed the potential harshness by blending the older with the younger whiskey to mellow and smooth the potentially bitter and harsh realities of 108 proof spirits.  I must say I liked this whiskey.  It hits the tongue sweet with the flavors of orange and honey, and nice spice notes of mint and cloves.  The finish is relatively smooth with just a tish of smoky harshness, but that is to be expected at this proof.


This is a nice neat whiskey.  Its nose is a little understated, but it does have nice aroma.  It has good up front flavor and a smoldering burn that lingers for about a minute, very nice.  Jimmy Russell, Master Distiller for Wild Turkey Bourbon keeps Rare Breed in the freezer so he doesn’t have to dilute the flavor with ice.  I wish I had done that with my little travel bottle that I purchased for this review, because I think cooling the whiskey would take the edge off any backside harshness that exists.

On the Rocks

Ice dilutes the flavor, but does tame its back side.  Rare breed drinks very nicely on rocks and still has a respectable nose.  Its flavor comes through and some heat on the backside remains, though not as much as drinking it neat.  On rocks Rare Breed is flavorful, and produces a clean burn on the finish.

With a Splash

Wild Turkey Rare Breed does hold up to water, but not as much as you might expect for a whiskey of 108.4 proof.  Its structure begins to unravel slightly with water.  It has a mild aroma and a little heat.  Its flavor while there, diminishes more than I would like when mixed with water.  Drink this whiskey neat or on the rocks.


I was so glad that this wasn’t another trip in the family truckster.  This is a very good whiskey.  I wouldn’t call it great, but it is very good.  It is worth your time to try it.  Sometimes it isn’t the journey, but actually arriving that makes all the difference.  Wild Turkey Rare Breed has arrived…


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Categories: Whiskey

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3 Comments on “Turkey with All the Trimmings, Whiskey #4 Wild Turkey Rare Breed”

  1. Jim
    September 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm #

    I don’t remember the trip, but you paint a pretty convincing picture of Mom. All I remember is playing with Batman action figures at Grandma’s old-lady smelling house. I’m glad you finally found a Turkey worth your time.


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