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Oh Taste & See: Wild Turkey 81 Bourbon

Wild Turkey, long known for its signature 101 proof bourbon, recently launched a new bourbon known as Wild Turkey 81. They've also launched a big ad campaign featuring the catchphrase "Give 'em the bird," and if you haven't seen the TV ads yet you should because they're kinda clever - I've linked to them at the bottom of this post. Wild Turkey 81 was crafted by Eddie Russell (son of long time Wild Turkey master distiller Jimmy Russell) to be a highly mixable bourbon that will appeal to more bartenders and mixed-drink drinkers than to the 'straight and on-the-rocks' crowds.

I tend to enjoy all the Wild Turkey products that I try, and I'm especially fond of the 10 year old Russell's Reserve. I wasn't disappointed by Wild Turkey 81 which turns out to be a perfectly acceptable bourbon for drinking straight or on the rocks, although I can see where its bright and poppy flavor profile would make it a good match for mixed drinks. The 81 proof also makes it less dangerous than the 'just for big boys' 101, that can quickly get you in trouble if you have more than one or two.

Color: Wild Turkey 81 has a classic, caramel to amber-brown bourbon color to it. It looks clean and light when compared to some older bourbons.

Nose: The nose is fruity and light, but still 100% classic bourbon with hints of vanilla, oak, sweet grains, and oranges.

Flavor: This is a smooth, crisp bourbon with sweet, fruity notes of bananas, apples, and oranges. There's also a decent spiciness with pepper, cinnamon, and black tea flavors that give a nod to the signature rye-heavy flavor profile of Wild Turkey's products. The most dominant flavor is a light, sweet honey taste that makes this a very easy sipper and would certainly lend that classic bourbon-sweetness to any cocktail.

Finish:The finish lingers for a long while and gets warmer and warmer before fading away. You're left with long-lingering caramel, honey, and spices.



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Oh Taste & See: Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky

A few weeks ago I wrote about my recent visit to Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, VA, and today I'll taste their Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky as the third and final installment in my series of three American, craft, malt whisk(e)y's. The first two I reviewed were Edgefield Distillery's Hogshead Whiskey from Oregon and MB Roland's Malt Whiskey from Kentucky. Wasmund's is the outcast of this trio since it drops the 'e' from whiskey, but that's not the only thing that makes it different.

For one thing, this is a soup-to-nuts, produced-in-house whiskey. Copper Fox's Rick Wasmund malts his own barley in-house, sourced from nearby farms, and dries it in a kiln fired by apple and cherry wood. As far as I know he's the only distillery in the world doing that. He also brings some non-traditional wood into the aging process, and in only 14 months of barrel-time turns out a very classy and unique whisky.

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Oh Taste & See: MB Roland Malt Whiskey

This is the second of my three-part American craft-distilled malt whiskey tasting. My first was Edgefield Distillery's Hogshead Whiskey from Oregon, and today I'm tasting MB Roland's Malt Whiskey from Kentucky. The MB Roland distillery is just outside my hometown, and you can read about my visit there by clicking here. Their malt whiskey is a very small batch product, and is totally unique in that the mash bill is not 100% malted barley, but a blend of malt, rye, and corn with malt being the majority grain. It is also aged in new, charred oak barrels like a bourbon which is unusual for malt whiskeys.

This unique recipe leads to one of the most singular whiskeys that I have tasted. It is unlike anything else; charting its own little path down the whiskey road. This is precisely the type of innovation that small distillers like MB Roland can bring to market, and I applaud them for trying something so innovative.

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Oh Taste & See: Edgefield Distillery Hogshead Whiskey

I noticed recently that I had accumulated a few bottles of small-batch, craft-distilled malt whiskeys, so I thought I'd taste them all, three posts in a row, and offer you a comparison. First up is Hogshead Whiskey from Oregon's Edgefield Distillery. Edgefield Distillery is part of the McMenamins empire which operates hotels, pubs, breweries, wineries, and theaters throughout Oregon and Washington. Hogshead Whiskey is made in a small, dark, barn-like distillery at the Edgefield resort property that McMenamins operates in Troutdale, OR.

Hogshead Whiskey is a very small batch product distilled from the same barley malt used in some of McMenamins' beers, and aged 'to-taste' in used barrels. It is available at any of McMenamins' pubs or restaurants or at a couple of the hotel gift shops, but that's it...so don't get your hopes up about finding a bottle at your corner liquor shop. Here's what I think about it: