Gobble Til You Wobble: Phase Four Conclusions (Wild Turkey 101)
Phase Four has been wrapped up and was quite a bit longer than the WTKS of Phase Three. This also means that it was a scream, just like before. Here, I tested 11 different iterations of Wild Turkey 101. Some were 8 year age stated. Some were old. Some were recent. One came from a shoddy little plastic bottle. Thankfully, though, all of those things were equalized by handling the system with my new “full blind” method.
This method is really something I think is necessary in a system like this. I have an assistant take all of the samples for the phase and log them in an excel sheet. The assistant then pours the samples for the phase into identical amber bostons and mark them with a number 1->?. I taste all of the samples over a period of time and record my notes. Only once everything has been tasted and reviewed / scored do I get the reveal on a one by one basis in order to speak to the reveal in the review. Since Turkey can carry heavy biases, both with myself and with the crowd, this seemed like the only truly blind method to ensure that the Turkey’s were getting the objective appraisal they deserved.
Let’s talk about the juice now. Like I said, there were 11 to tackle this time:
- Day 12. Wild Turkey 101 – 2004
- Day 13. Wild Turkey 101 – 1994
- Day 14. Wild Turkey 101 – 2010E
- Day 15. Wild Turkey 101 – 1991
- Day 16. Wild Turkey 101 – 1987
- Day 17. Wild Turkey 101 – 2009
- Day 18. Wild Turkey 101 – 2014
- Day 19. Wild Turkey 101 – 1981
- Day 20. Wild Turkey 101 – 1999
- Day 21. Wild Turkey 101 – 2007
- Day 22. Wild Turkey 101 – 2017
Whew. That’s a lot of Turkey. There were also some VERY interesting results. Let’s take a look.
Highest Rated: Wild Turkey 8/101 1981 (Rank 8)
Lowest Rated: Wild Turkey 101 2007 (Rank 5)
Interestingly enough, that’s a large deviation but not massive. I was surprised there wasn’t more for a product spanning 36 years. Understandably, this doesn’t mean that the product hasn’t changed or remained wildly consistent – it just means the product has remained consistently good.
There were three standouts points for me, though, which I thought really deserves talking to:
- The oldest Turkey was my favorite, but not all older turkeys fared considerably better than others.
- Some exports fared better than average (2014) but this was not indicative of all export bottlings
- None were bad.
At the end of the day, any of these would be welcome on my table. I was really impressed at the overall quality of the product through the decades and the spine of that Turkey flavor we all know and love despite some shift in profile from decade to decade. It was also a great lesson for me, as a blind taster, to just go with the flow and read the contents of the glass. I dare say this has been one of the most fun phases of any series I’ve done so far. I’ve learned so much and we’re not even done yet.
So, with that, folks, we head on to Phase Five! This is the Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel segment. There are upwards of 15 bourbons and 3 ryes to test out. In the mix are all store picks and a single “off the shelf” bottle in there as well. I understand these can’t be true control products since they’re also single barrel but it will be nice to see how they compare. They will be handled the same way, fully blind, but the bourbon and rye will be separated. Bourbon will be first, rye second.
As is my usual way of ending this round up post, what would you, the community, like to tell me? Did you like it? Was it too long and therefore boring? Were you surprised or completely shocked? Do you have any suggestions of things you’d like to change or improve? I love hearing from each one of you so speak up.
As an important note: while I am tasting the next phase, I will be posting an assortment of backlog reviews. In order to not spam the subs, I will keep to my personal policy of no more than 2 per day per sub. I only expect the tasting phase to take a couple of evenings, up to a week max, in order to get all of the information I need to begin writing the next phase. I haven’t given up on Phase Five…quite the opposite.
Thanks for reading! Time to gobble on!