Following the end of the American Civil War, the Ripy Brothers returned to their native state of Kentucky and together, opened a distillery on the slopes of a hill in Lawrenceburg. The distillery operated continuously for nearly fifty years until the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the sale of alcohol in the United States, was ratified. Following the end of Prohibition, the Ripy Brothers Distillery was reopened and a distillery executive named Thomas McCarthy took samples of maturing whiskey from the distillery on a turkey hunt with a group of friends. The next year, his friends asked him to bring "some of that wild turkey whiskey"on their next hunt, giving birth to the distillery's new name.
Today, Wild Turkey Distillery is stewarded by Master Distiller Jimmy Russell and his son Eddie Russell (together, the pair have over 90 years of experience producing bourbon). "I was born and raised in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky," says Jimmy, "which was a small community when I was growing up, but there were four bourbon distilleries here, and you had families working all the distilleries. You wanted to get in the business. My grandfather and my father, me, and now my son, we've all been in the business."
Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon is crafted using a high-rye mashbill, which gives the bourbon a unique and spicy flavor profile. Once the bourbon has been distilled, it is aged in American oak casks that have been charred with a #4 char. Typically, the degree of charring within a cask is measured on a scale of one to four, with a #1 char referring to casks that have been lightly toasted, and a #4 char referring to casks that have been charred so heavily that the interior resembles an alligator hide.
After maturing for six to eight years, Wild Turkey 101 is bottled at 101 proof. The bourbon has an aroma of citrus, orange zest and caramel apples that gives way to bold notes of caramel, vanilla, apricots and honey on the palate. The finish is intense and warming, with a touch of chili peppers.
Wild Turkey 101 earned a score of 92 points from the Ultimate Spirits Challenge and the Gold Medal at the International Wine & Spirits Competition.