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Mar 11, 2010 07:23 AM

Can anyone comment on Wild Turkey Rye?

Has anyone tried Wild Turkey Rye? Can you compare it to:

Jim Beam Rye
Old Overholt
Rittenhouse 100
Other American Whiskeys in general?


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  1. Wild Turkey 101 is a great rye, and one of the best bangs for your buck. It's got straightforward rye spice, a nice clean flavor and is very affordable. I don't like Jim Beam or Old Overholt, which are very low on the strong, spicy rye flavors. Rittenhouse 100 is a very nice rye, very balanced and a bit more subtle than Wild Turkey. Of those you've listed, Wild Turkey has the most punch, though Rittenhouse may be a bit more complex.

    In that price range ($15-25), another great rye is Sazerac Rye. It has a wonderful, deep, spicy flavor, and is one of my all-time favorites. Given those you've listed, I would probably choose Sazerac over all of them.

    If you want to spend more (into the $50-$75 range), there are numerous other possibilities.

    9 Replies
    1. re: sku

      To my taste the Rittenhouse is just too much of a mouthful. Too sweet, too rich, felt hit over the head. In a Manhattan the Rittenhouse just blew away the balance of the cocktail. I tend to like slightly leaner American Whiskeys. The products from Tuthilltown distillery meet that bill but are WAY pricey. Based on your rec I will have to give Sazerac and Wild Turkey a try even if they might be a bit BIG for my taste.

      1. re: StriperGuy

        StriperGuy, I feel like I have a sense of your tastes from having read a lot of your posts. For you, I might recommend the Wild Turkey Russell Reserve Rye, if you haven't already tried it that is. Though more expensive (around $35) Russell Reserve is a bit more refined, with less spicy edge that the regular Wild Turkey. I personally prefer the regular WT, but I'm guessing you might really like the Russell Reserve, and it's great for cocktails.

          1. re: sku

            At the Bevmo near me, the Russell Reserve is about $26 - roughly the same price as the baby Sazerac. Slightly different, but I like them both.

            The Rittenhouse is pretty good for the price, but I still don't quite get the hype - I don't find that it really stands out to me compared to a lot of the higher end stuff. That said, did you compensate for the extra alcohol (in your Manhattan) by using less and / or diluting more?

            I like Tuthilltown's rye, and the fact that they seem very careful about where their grains are sourced from; however agree with you about the price - I could get a full size bottle of the Van Winkle 13 for the price their half-bottle goes for out here on the west coast ($50). Despite its name, I tend to like it neat more than in a Manhattan. Even though it has the same alcohol content on paper that most of my other ryes do (~ 46-47%), I find that the resulting drink seems off-balance to me most of the time. Someone (JMF, maybe) mentioned the Finger Lakes rye (McKenzie) as a similar product that's cheaper; unfortunately, it's not widely available. I haven't tried it yet.

            1. re: will47

              I do agree their products are better neat, a waste to make a cocktail out of them.

              Honestly think it is silly to make a Manhattan out of any of the pricey American whiskeys most of the flavor is hidden by the vermouth and bitters.

              1. re: will47

                I didn't mention the Finger Lakes Rye since I haven't tried it yet, but from what I have heard it isn't a traditional rye.

                1. re: JMF

                  I got some, and can attest to the fact that it's not (to me, anyway) a traditional rye. Seems pretty dry, and has a kind of honey or grape taste or something (but not in a really sweet way).

                  Interesting, but I think I may prefer it for sipping neat than in, say, a Manhattan.

                  1. re: will47

                    The grape taste must be from the secondary aging in local used sherry barrels.

              2. re: sku

                StriperGuy - I bet sku is right. I just bought a bottle of Michter US*1 rye and compared it to the Russel Reserve. The Russel Reserve has a dry flinty taste compared to the sweeter, rounder Michter. Interesting, the alcohol nose / burn of the Russel Reserve is slightly less, despite being 90 proof versus 84.

                Now the other question is where to find these elusive Rye's. Event Atlas Liquor in Medford has RI-1, Beam, Old Overholt, and Michter US*1. Maybe Marty's has more. I think Cambridge Wine and Spirits has/had Russel Reserve.

          2. I'm a big fan of WT Rye. It's got an oily mouthfeel and a spicy, sour, herbal rye hit right off the bat. It's rounded out with a bit of brown sugar and rock candy sweetness on the finish. Doesn't mess around. Straightforward but balanced. My favorite American whiskey.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bbrownri

              Alright, I'm buying some; thanks to all for the suggestions.

              1. re: bbrownri

                I found WT 101 Rye at Marty's in Newton. They may have had Russell Reserve, too (can't remember).

              2. I prefer old Overholt as my everyday Rye. But for something a little more complex, i go for Sazerac. It's very dry and deeply earthy.