The Wild Turkey Rare Breed is a barrel proof, no age statement Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. Launched in 1991, the Wild Turkey Rare Breed was one of the first barrel proof bourbons in the market. Even though the Rare Breed upped its alcohol strength in 2015, it managed to retain its mellow flavor.
James Rippy (turned Ripy as a result of a misspelling by an immigration worker!) was an Irish merchant and distributor from Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. In the mid-1840s and 1850s, James started buying small distilleries in and around Anderson County, Kentucky. In 1869, James and his two sons, James Ripy Jr. and Thomas Ripy built their own distillery on Wild Turkey Hill in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. This distillery was named the Rippy Brothers Distillery after James Jr, and Thomas Ripy.
With the advent of US Prohibition in 1919, the distillery shut down and reopened in 1933 after the act was abolished. In 1940, one of the distillery executives Thomas McCarthy shared some of this whiskey with his friends while on a wild turkey hunting trip. Everyone loved the whiskey and wanted more of this “wild turkey” bourbon, and that’s how the drink got its name.
Wild Turkey introduced the first bourbon liqueur in 1976. The brand is currently owned by the Campari Group who purchased the brand in 2009.
Corn, rye, and barley grains are cooked using non-acidic water from the Kentucky River. The water is filtered through limestone to purify the water remove iron and other impurities. Malted barley and sour mash, a mash that has been previously fermented and that contains live yeast, is then mixed together to start a new fermentation process. The distillery uses a Wild Turkey proprietary yeast strain to impart the bourbon its signature flavor. This yeast turns the starch from the grains to sugar.
The resulting liquid mash is then pumped into a continuous still and is vaporized at a high temperature. This turns the vapors back to a liquid which is then distilled all over again. This process smooths out the bourbon without sacrificing the flavor.
After distillation, the spirit is poured into barrels and low proof, so that by the time it is done maturing, less water needs to be added to the final product before bottling. The American White Oak casks used to age the bourbon have an alligator No. 4 char that imparts the bourbon its amber color.
Once the barrels are filled, the bourbon is aged a minimum of 5 years, but it’s often 6 or more, to allow maximum interaction between the wood and bourbon.
The Wild Turkey Rare Breed whiskey contains 56.4% ABV (112.8 US Proof) which is much higher than the standard permissible limit for bourbon whiskeys.
Silver Outstanding at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2018.
Silver Outstanding at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2017.
Silver at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2016.
Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2016.
Silver at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2014.
Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013.
Silver Outstanding at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2013.
Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013.
Gold Outstanding at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2012.
Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2011.
Silver at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2010.
Silver and Best in Class at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2010.
Fruity notes of berries and green apples.
Rich and sweet, with hints of spices and cinnamon.
Lingering sweetness with a touch of spice.