Well, you’ve lasted this far and decided to tune back in for our second episode. I’d ask what the hell is wrong with you, but I think it’s rude to insult your listeners when you’re only two episodes into your brand new podcast. Either way, we’re very excited to dive deeper today into the world of Wild Turkey, and to have you along for the ride! Just one show production notice this time, we do record the show in a cigar lounge we’ve promoted in the show before, and this lounge has a pool table just outside the room where we record. Please excuse the background noise, but remember we record the show in public and there may be some distortion. Thanks for your understanding!
As we saw the last episode, the room seemed to discount the Wild Turkey 101 at the beginning because of images and memories of frat parties and college hijinks fueled by plastic bottles of the stuff in a misspent youth. However, the group, in the end, tended toward the Wild Turkey 101 as their choice for the episode, and it was pure luck we scheduled our Wild Turkey episode to follow right after! Totally, guys, we swear, this was already planned, being 100 here…and now, as we dive deeper, we can see a little more of Jimmy Russel’s genius at work.
As they all share one mash bill, we also wanted to give that at the macro level below. Glencairns out, everyone, it’s time to drink!
Wild Turkey Mash Bill
12% Malted Barley
Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit
Characteristics: Easy, smooth
Rarity: Moderately Available
Note: Our bottle was a store pick from Warehouse Liquors in Chicago (thanks, Gene!) and was aged in Warehouse G, Rick 5.
In the beginning, there was good citrus and lime on the nose which was quite refreshing. Had hints of the brown sugar and tart apple pie as we said in the Wild Turkey 101 from Episode 1, very light on ethanol.
Had a good bit more warmth and sweetness in the flavor, with a robust Kentucky Hug at the end of the swallow that had all of us remembering the warmth of homemade apple pie. Cinnamon, tartness, and sweet nuttiness like a nutmeg, just overall deliciousness.
Much sweeter post-cigar, it accentuated the natural sweetness as we smoked and it subdued the other flavors. We had a lot of comparison with the Buffalo Trace in Episode One; none of us seemed to pick the Kentucky Spirit once we began the Davidoff.
Russell's Reserve Single Barrel
Characteristics: Gentle and aromatic for the ABV, excellent mouth-feel
Rarity: Generally Available
There was more spice on the nose than the Kentucky Spirit, some more cinnamon and caramel and vanilla overall. Despite the increase in ABV, there was also a lack of ethanol on the nose.
The mouthfeel was the most significant difference; it’s very smooth and more complex than the first. Even among the Russell’s Reserve that Chris owns, this was his favorite bottle. Vanilla stood out, caramel, and a good bit of cinnamon. Jason found the vanilla even enhanced as he swirled the bourbon in his Glencairn.
With the cigar, though, it brought a lot more complexity to the flavor which was an improvement overall. There was deeper sweetness and more of the vanilla we detected before, albeit with a deeper apple pie that other reviewers have also identified inside. Some could have been because of the brand and style of the cigar, but it’s a testament to the Wild Turkey brand that the bourbon stood up so well to the chosen smoke.
Wild Turkey Rare Breed (116.8 Proof)
Characteristics: Flavorful, with a thick mouth coating
Rarity: Varies on Proof Version
On the nose, it was pretty deep and complex, but stronger than the others. More ginger and more savory spice than the sweetness of the other two.
The flavor on the palate continued that same flavor profile of the nose, taking the sweetness of the first two and dulling it for the savory side. Baking spices replaced the citrus notes and added to the bite of this bottle over the first and second. That dark flavor was a hit, though, as it made an interesting contrast to the others.
Post-cigar, the Rare Breed was overpowered by the cigar and ended up ruining the taste for us once we lit up. Chris disagreed, he enjoyed it before and after, but Jason and I were a lot less impressed and had to move this down to our least favorite because of the collapse of the sweetness and the accentuation of the spice to the point of no longer being palatable.
Overall Bourbon Impressions
The three of us went through the bourbons twice, as per the format of the show: once naked and once with the cigar. There was a lean toward the Russell’s by Joe and Jason before the cigar with the Rare Breed still Chris’s favorite at the beginning of the show. As we tasted, however, it seemed to “wake up” our taste buds and get us more depth to the flavors.
Typical to our experience, everything changed once the cigar started. There was a general preference for the Russell’s Reserve pre-cigar, but the cigar only enhanced that. Jason tended toward the Kentucky Spirit at the start, as did I, but we had a lot of love for the Russell’s which improved considerably once we smoked. The group moved from Kentucky Spirit, Reserve, Rare Breed to Reserve, Rare Breed, Kentucky Spirit.
It wasn’t hard to come up with cigar number two for the show, the brand is now almost synonymous with cigars and the lifestyle of smoking, more so than the country that others think of when they think stogies. Davidoff is best known for their Swiss shop that has been open since 1911, but for the past fifty years they’ve produced their own cigars and have come to dominate the industry while still maintaining their mystique as the penultimate source of high-quality tobacco.
Based on availability at our local store, we opted for the Signature 2000 Anniversario, a subset of the Signature series that celebrates a half-century of Davidoff cigars, but your store should have one or all of the Signature series available. We highly recommend the Corona shape and size for a beginner, like the 2000 offers.
Davidoff Signature 2000 Anniversario
Rarity: Generally Available
Featuring an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, the binder is a hybrid Ecuadorian Connecticut, and Habano Seco blend over a Dominican Seco filler. The construction of the cigar was terrific, as it never once had an issue for all three of us as we smoked; they lived up to the Davidoff name and brand.
There was some bit of pepper on the flavor, but I pulled some creaminess on the beginning of the smoke that the others didn’t detect until later in the smoke. There was fresh-cut grass and some earthiness on the smoke that made it quite pleasant, as well.
In the end, though, the group had to pan the cigar and found it didn’t live up to the price-to-size ratio for our desires. It was a good smoke, but it didn’t fit the value proposition that we like to see in beginner cigars. Your mileage may vary, but this is maybe a smoke to save until you’ve had more experience.