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Whisk(e)y Reviews

February 2021


Wild Turkey Rare Breed Rye 

Let me start by saying I am a big fan of Wild Turkey products. Wild Turkey 101 and Rare Breed bourbon are two of the best values you can find in bourbon. I am also a big fan of Rye Whiskey, but until recently had not had any rye from Wild Turkey. When Wild Turkey announced the release of their Rare Breed Rye, I was obviously excited. As it happens, I was actually lucky enough to find the 101 Rye at the same time as the Rare Breed Rye, so I was able to really compare the two offerings.

Let's begin with what is similar between them. The 101 Rye and Rare Breed Rye share the same mashbill and barrel char, #4. Both are straight rye with no age statement on the bottle, which means they are at least 4 years old. My tasting notes are nearly identical, as well. So, what is the difference? The real difference is in the proof. The Rare Breed flavors are bold, as you would expect from a high proof whiskey, while the 101 Rye feels a bit muted. I did a separate tasting for each on different days and that muted feeling for the 101 Rye remained, so it just wasn't the comparison to its high proof sibling.


So, how does the Rare Breed Rye fare? Is it worthy of the Rare Breed moniker? Is it a good value at $60?


  • No Age Statement (4+ years)

  • Non-Chill Filtered

  • Distilled and Aged by Wild Turkey Distillery, Lawrenceburg, KY

  • Mashbill of 51% Rye, 37% Corn, 12% Malted Barley

  • Bottled at 56.1% ABV (112.2 proof)



Nose: 85/100


Caramel leads the way. Creamy vanilla sits directly behind. Rye spice and cinnamon hover at the edges. Definitely some ethanol as well, but not overpowering.


Palate: 85/100


Rich and oily. Caramel and vanilla cream mingle nicely. Rye spice follows with a bit of anise in the background.


Finish: 85/100


Rich and creamy. Caramel, cinnamon, and rye star here. The vanilla cream sits more in the background. Medium length finish with a touch of bitter oak and anise.


Overall: 85/100


Recommendation: Buy it now!


If you are a fan of barely legal rye, meaning just 51% rye, this is a great purchase. Barrel proof rye is becoming more popular, and this is a great addition to that list. For fans of Wild Turkey Rare Breed bourbon, this is another great value in the family. It is a very well balanced and consistent dram. No part of the tasting felt significantly different or much better than another. Honestly, this is just another great offering from Wild Turkey; go find some now.