Whiskey, at the scale that it’s produced for international consumption, is expensive. You don’t write off an entire barrel or vat of whiskey just because someone made a mistake or some act of God collapsed a warehouse on it. You bottle it, come up with some marketing spin and a catchy name, and try to make a profit on it. That’s what Glenfiddich did when one of their warehouses collapsed in 2010, producing the very tasty Snow Phoenix.
According to the marketing spin on Forgiven, a warehouse worker accidentally blended some Wild Turkey straight rye into some Wild Turkey straight bourbon, which immediately created a blended American whiskey that can’t be called “straight” anymore. Presumably the accident tasted pretty good (and it’s not like this is a new idea, after all), so Wild Turkey bottled it as a limited edition, small batch blend at 45.5% ABV. The blend is 78% 6 year-old Wild Turkey Bourbon and 22% 4 year-old Wild Turkey Rye. It must have been pretty successful, because they went back and made the same “mistake” for a second batch. (The first batch was “302”, and this review is for “303”.)
Batch 303 appears to be running dry on shelves, so if you’re interested you might need to pay a little extra or drive a little further to find it. No word yet on whether the “mistake” will be repeated for a batch 304…
Nose: Dry, spicy, with faint peach, marzipan, and sweet tea. A rest in the glass adds sweetness, and reveals some of the rye spices (clove, cinnamon, etc.).
Palate: Syrupy body. The same notes from the aroma show on the entry, but a wave of tongue burn washes everything away. Hot for 45%. After the burn subsides, the aroma notes return, plus cinnamon red hots and sugar cookie dough.
Finish: Medium-long. Somewhat dry, but very consistent with the flavors on the tongue. Fades with a bit of hazelnut butter and some slightly-bitter charcoal.
With Water: A small splash of water appears to have little effect, except for taming the tongue burn a bit while also thinning the body.
Overall: While somewhat dry (like most Wild Turkey), this is a nice balance of the advertised components: rye-like spices with bourbon-like sweetness, and a little sweet tea and peach thrown in for pizzazz. I’m not sure it’s really worth almost $50 considering the other very value-conscious Wild Turkey offerings, especially with no age statement and a midline proof. If you like Wild Turkey and are looking for a slight upgrade, you won’t be upset with this. You could, alternatively, save some money and do your own “blend” with some $20 Wild Turkey 101 bourbon and some $30 Wild Turkey 101 rye. The ages won’t be the same, but I bet it would be pretty close in flavor.