Whiskey Friday: Wild Turkey Rye 101-proof

Whiskey Friday is that time of week when we all get together and celebrate the weekend with a nice tall glass of whiskey. Today, we’re drinking the increasingly tough to find 101-proof Wild Turkey Rye.

Colin Joliat

Colin Joliat


Wild Turkey is one of the biggest names in the whiskey game, and their hooch has the power to back it up. If you can handle 101-proof spirits, this straight rye whiskey has more flavor than your mouth will know with what to do. Unlike many bad ryes, the grain doesn’t overpower the fruit and oak in the aroma. You can can really taste it though. That spiciness is perfect with the slight sweetness of the spirit and it all comes together for a shockingly smooth sip. When most people hear 101-proof, they immediately assume it’s going to be abrasive, not that there’s anything wrong with that. That isn’t the case here, and I’m not really sure how they pulled it off. It does have that characteristic WT burn that let’s you know you’ve grabbed granddaddy’s whiskey though, and that glorious warmth lingers well beyond last call.

One of the first articles I wrote for Guyism two years ago was about rye whiskey, and this happened to be one of the options discussed. At the time there were about 5 different brands on the shelf of a massive liquor store. Today nearly every distillery has at least one rye option. Because of the demand explosion, supplies of the old stocks are low. Yes, another brand pops up every month, but those aren’t aged for 6 years like WT. They’re one of the few brands that have been making it all along. That’s part of the reason they introduced Wild Turkey Rye 81. Unlike Maker’s Mark who tried to simply drop the ABV to avoid shortages, WT decided to create a new spirit and accept that the 101-proof iteration may be hard to find at times. It’s not discontinued, simply rare.

If you see a bottle of 101-proof Wild Turkey Rye, put that sucker in the cart immediately. It’s one of the best bangs for the buck in all of whiskey.