Wild Turkey Rye

Wild Turkey’s 81 Rye Whiskey reviewed.

Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey (to give the full name) is Wild Turkey’s current version of their long-produced Rye whiskey.

It’s bottled at 81 proof (or 40.5% ABV) and replaces the 101 Rye (50.5% ABV) which was withdrawn from most markets due to supply issues. Wild Turkey still show the 101 on their site, but it doesn’t appears to be available for retail sale.

To be designated a ‘rye whiskey’, it must be 51% or more of the grains used to produce the spirit (‘the mashbill’).

Wild Turkey’s Rye contains 65% rye, 23% corn and 12% so should have stronger characteristics than some of it’s peers.

Our notes are below.


Soft honey at first, with a sweet almost wheaty note. Not what I’d expected from a Rye!

Next nose is greener, with a slightly grassy smell sitting alongside orange blossom and fruit salad sweets.

As it opens up, floor polish waxy perfume appears, some green bananas and a hint of pineapple.


Soft green apples and blackcurrant on the arrival followed a gentle peppery spice which catches the back of the throat.

A touch of toffee, then smooth honey and lemon kick in.

The rye spice is present, but again it’s not as dominant as I’d expected.


The rye stands out most here, bringing a prominent pepper note and some woody dryness to the finish.

The honey and lemon carries through, but is replaced by oaty, vanilla sweetness which lingers for a short while after the fruit and spice have passed.


Wild Turkey Rye is a very pleasant whiskey overall. Despite the high percentage of rye in the mashbill it’s not too green or spicy. This is something which I appreciate given I can find the excessive spiciness a bit much, however can understand that rye enthusiasts may be a bit disappointed.

Typically, it will make an excellent cocktail, but also absolutely fine and with enough flavour to drink neat or over ice.

Worth a look if you’ve not tasted before.


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