Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Livin' la Vida Loca - Wild Turkey Rare Breed

Coming off the back of possibly the lamest attempt of a bourbon ever I threw myself at the Wild Turkey Rare Breed thinking there is no better time to go for it than now. Was I pleased… OH YES! Was that Ricky Martin singing Livin' la Vida Loca in my head as I took the first dram… I hope not but it seemed like just the right song at the time.

I have been waiting to taste this puppy for a long time. At $80 AU a bottle it is not a cheap bourbon by any measure so at some stage you need to throw caution to the wind and splash out.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed is a blending of 6yo, 8yo and 12yo barrels all at barrel-proof / cask strength with no addition of water. Remember that bourbon does not suffer the angels share like scotch so the flavours are extremely full of character from the distillation process and the new oak barrels it fills. Tasty.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Barel Proof 54.1% Alcohol
Batch No. WT-03RB

This is certainly one of the more well presented bottles of bourbon I have seen yet not so extravagantly package that you start thinking where has all the one gone. The bottle is voluptuous, shapely and attention grabbing. Judging from the bottle I think we can tell how Jimmy Russell liked his ladies.

The nose is rich and thick with lots of sweet toffees, corn and rye and not too much oak or dry straw. This is a bourbon that you could nose for an hour and I really had to just stop myself several times from diving in because I knew once that hits the pallet there is no going back. Just delicious.

On the pallet, at first, it is quite a strange sensation with an unexpected burst of tingling spices and citrus notes, sweet, rich and chewy. For me somehow the rye keeps making it's way forward and reminds me a lot of the Wild Turkey Straight Rye whisky. Still with all that is going on it is smooth on the tongue though I must confess you need to have a taste for barrel proof/cask strength whiskies to appreciate it. It really attacks the senses from here on.

The finish is where barrel strength starts to be notice. A bit of heat but not as much as one would expect, very long on the draw with a sweetness that slowly build up in the jowls of the mouth. Slight tobacco smoke dryness in the back of the throat though not unpleasant. For some reason maybe 3 minutes later does the lips also get the tingle and bitterness arrive.

The balance is fair on the nose and the pallet and not confusing like I have found with some bourbons.

With a crazy sense of certainty if I was to give a dram I would rank this is as one of the best bourbons I have had to date (Buffalo Trace aside of course, still waiting on the review Secretary/The Diplomate) and will score it 6 1/2 out of 7. A rare score indeed for a rare breed of bourbon.

On a finishing note I would really like to try this chilled so I am thinking I need to get some whisky stones. No way I would kill this with water.

The Baron livin' the crazy life (he thinks)

3 comments:

  1. I agree with your review! For some reason, Rare Breed seems to take a lot of flak in a lot of other reviews, but I was pleasantly surprised by it and found it to be delicious. I love that just behind all the bourbony/spicy notes, there is some sweet fruit (that I call peaches) to balance it out and keep you interested. This is a winner, if maybe a tad overpriced.

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  2. Thanks Ryan, for all the intensity the Rare Breed has it also is still an easy drink and a great mouth feel. Yes it is highly priced but the 101 and the 12yo are only $10AU cheaper and I much much prefer to spend a few extra dollars on the Rare Breed.

    Talking about pricing I have a bottle of Jack Daniels Single Barrel ($75AU) open at the moment and in my view is very over priced for the minor increase in taste and mouth feel against the Old No.7. Rare Breed is a true step up from most of the Wold Turkey expression and that needs to be appreciated.

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  3. Yes, for that little price difference, I would get Rare Breed every time! In the USA, Rare Breed is almost twice as expensive as 101, so I think they both have a niche here, depending on if you're spending $20 or $40. Although intense, Rare Breed is good-intense, whereas I find 101 bad-intense (i.e. from not being aged quite long enough).

    I would be interested to read your full review of Jack Daniels Single Barrel if you have the time to post one. It's been on my list of things to try for a while, as Jack is one of my nostalgic favorites, having actually visited the distillery.

    Thanks,
    Ryan

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