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Wild Turkey - Rare Breed (Barrel Proof)

Nose: This has a nice classic bourbon smell that is on the sweet side. I got some sugar, raisins and cinnamon along with the vanilla and caramel. You’ll enjoy sniffing this one. Palate: The first sip of this didn’t punch as hard as other high proofs, but it is also substantially lower in proof. You still get a decent but not unbearable amount of heat, mostly in the finish. This has a nice medium thick mouthfeel and starts off with some sweet tones that are well balanced with some rye spiciness. The finish is on the longer side of medium. Later sips bring out more rye flavors…..not really as “spicy” as other bourbons with rye in the mashbill, but definitely there. It is more rye bread than rye spice. This warms as it goes down your throat, but after the first two sips, the heat seems to get more moderate. It leaves a slight aftertaste that I had a hard time with. It has something I couldn’t quite get (maybe a “woodiness”?), combined with a slight touch of artificial banana flavor (like you get from banana candy). Comments: This is a nice sipper and I think if you like Wild Turkey or Wild Turkey 101, you’ll probably like this too. It clocks it at a higher than usual but not obscene 108.2 proof. This is an older bottle and I’m pretty sure the proof has changed (gone up) since then. They have also changed the label. Rare Breed is a blend of 6, 8 and 12 year old bourbon. Wild Turkey only has one mashbill, 75% corn, 13% rye,, 12% malted barley, so this is the un-filtered, un-cut version of their other products. While it may not be as complex as other higher proof bourbons, it is a nice example of what I’d call a “bourbon’s bourbon”….that is, your standard, easy to recognize, version of what you think of when you think of bourbon. Rare Breed used to be very affordable (mid $30 range), but it still isn’t all that expensive either for a barrel proof. Total Wine lists it for $53 but you can find it for less in other liquor stores. I haven’t done it in a while, but a blind tasting of various Wild Turkey products is always fun. You’ll probably find one you like better than another, and it seems that personal preference makes any one of their varieties a possible pick. Here’s a link to an interesting review where they did just that…..and this particular proof version did not fair as well as others….. Lastly, rumor has it that Jimmy Russell keeps his bottle of Rare Breed in the freezer!

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