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What's the Difference Between Wild Turkey 80 and Wild Turkey 81?

Hello from Vancouver! I'm up here for the two-day Tales of the Cocktail festival.

In one of the tasting rooms yesterday, Eddie Russell, Associate Distiller and son of Master Distiller Jimmy Russel, was on hand to pass out samples and information.

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In Canada and in some parts of the US there is a Wild Turkey 80, while recently they launched Wild Tukey 81. One proof degree difference? I asked Eddie Russell about it. 

The Wild Tukey 80 is actually discontinued. The product was a four year old bourbon.

Wild Turkey 81 is made with 6-8 year old whiskies. I believe Russell said that it is the same recipe as used in the Wild Turkey 101, but don't quote me on that. It's meant to be a in the same category as the other top-selling mixing bourbons. 

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So there you have it!

Comments

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Mr Manhattan

My supposition has been that they're building up the brand based on the more popular '101' version, i.e. making an association in the consumers mind with the '101' product by adding a '1' to the '80.' Less a statement of proof and more of an identity. (Or maybe they want to say: "This bourbon goes to '81' - one more than '80'?" ;->)

Chuck Cowdery

As Eddie said, the 80 was a different whiskey and as another Turkey manager commented to me privately, crap. The 81 is just the 101 plus water and is a much better bourbon.

Joaquín Simó

I could be mistaken, but it has always been my understanding that the entire Wild Turkey line of bourbons are all derived from the same base distillate/mashbill. The differences between them (Russell's Reserve vs American Spirit vs 101 and so on) have to do with the ages of the whiskeys employed in them, as well as percent of the locations in the massive rickhouses the particular barrels came from. As an example, 20% from a position up top, 30% from ground floor and and 50% from the middle rows, with the exact flavor properties of each location having been determined through the decades of aging experience that the Russells have accumulated. To be honest, that is just as impressive to me as using a bunch of different mashbills to achieve product differentiation.

Camper English

I think the mashbill was different in the 80 but I'm not 100%.

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