I'll have to admit that this one surprised me. I have a number of dusty bottles of Wild Turkey 8 and 12 year 101 and they're terrific. I've had the standard 101 over the years but have never been too impressed by it. It was a good bourbon in a pinch and good all around for mixing but drinking neat wasn't something I usually did with this one. Call me a snob (go ahead) but at least I can admit when I'm wrong, and I was on this one. Now, let me quantify my apology with saying that no matter how hard a distillery attempts to repeat the flavor profile on a consistent basis, that's not always the case and I believe that's how it is with the current Wild Turkey 101. I've had enough Wild Turkey over the years to know when one bottle is better than others and that's what I found with the current release; I almost have to believe that it's slightly older that previous versions.
I'll not say a whole lot about the packaging since it's pretty much been unchanged for years and it's a pretty recognizable brand. For a 101 proof bourbon reported to be around 8 years old, the price is very reasonable for around $20 for a 750ml bottle.
When I purchased this bottle, my intent was to use it as a mixer but upon nosing the bourbon, I got some nice hints of wood, char, rye and a subtle sweetness so I was curious. I poured about 1.5 oz in a glass and sipped it neat and as I said, I was pleasantly surprised. On further nosing, there were hints of honey, vanilla, and slight floral and of course the proof was evident also. Sipping this bourbon was pleasant and not too aggressive like some rye bourbons tend to be (e.g. Fighting Cock 103). I found this bottle to have a balance of flavors that I don't remember the standard bottle having in previous years. At first taste, the rye is very much up front but not overdone and the transition to mid palate introduces a nice subtle sweetness that lingers on to the finish. For new drinkers, they may find the 101 proof to be "too much" and may opt for the 80 proof version but I would recommend getting the 101 proof and knock it down with a splash of water or a cube or two. The price difference between the 80 and 101 proof is nominal so you're getting "more" whiskey in essence if you drink at a lower proof using the 101 version.
I'll confess that this Wild Turkey 101, while good in many respects, is not a bottle I would necessarily keep in my bunker. I may have a bottle on occasion for mixing purposes but with so many other personal choices, this isn't a bottle I would hit on a regular basis. For others, drinking this as a daily pour might be just the ticket. Bottom line, a good, consistent bourbon priced reasonably.
Personal rating: 7/10