So I’ve been lucky to be involved in a fair few tweet tastings hosted be Steve from The Whisky Wire. This latest one was a little different, we were going to sample four different expressions. With the twist being it would be from two different distilleries, two from the Scottish Glen Grant distillery and two from the American Wild Turkey distillery. We were to compare them and decide who was the winner at the end.
Now I was well aware of Wild Turkey, being an iconic brand in the U.S and have tried a few expressions from them. They have been in existence since 1869 founded by Ripy brothers in Lawrenceburg Kentucky, they didn’t get the Wild Turkey name until 1940 after the bourbon produce at the distillery was given the nickname by friends of a distillery executive. They mature the bourbon in new American white oak casks, which has the no.4 “alligator” char the deepest char available to them. This is what Wild Turkey say gives its bourbon the deep auburn colour and rich nose and flavours.
I didn’t have as much experience with Glen Grant, only trying one at a previous tasting which I rather enjoyed. They have been recommended to me a couple of times but for one reason or another I’ve just not got round to trying anymore. This is probably a failing on my behalf, they are after all the 5th biggest selling scotch single malt in the world. Being the market leader in Italy and huge presence in France and Germany. Founded in 1840 by brothers James and John Grant they have a long tradition of making single malt whisky.
Both distilleries are owned by the Campari group, with Glen Grant being purchased in 2006 and Wild Turkey in 2009. This was going to be an interesting tasting. The first round would see the Glen Grant 10yo going against the Wild Turkey 101.
Glen Grant 10yo 40% abv
Nose: sweet vanilla, fruity with peaches, pears, soft hint of oranges, nutty almonds I think, a nice malty note..
Palate: Vanilla present throughout, toffee, apples, pears, touch of pepper present, nice warm spice with a malty undertone, the nuttiness from the nose is present with some oak notes..
Finish: It’s a little short with some oak and little peppery spice, quite moreish..
Wild Turkey 101 bourbon 50.5% abv
Nose: Vanilla, honey, pears, subtle banana note, cinnamon, cloves, minty herbal note, oak..
Palate: Ginger, pepper, clove, big spice hit, charred oak, caramel, vanilla, soft herbal note probably Rye, the spice becomes more dominant towards the end..
Finish: Long with a spice that wants to go on forever, little oak undertone..
For me both drams were excellent in there own way, the Glen Grant was light and delicate with the Wild Turkey being big and bold with so many different layers to it. Round one goes to the WT 101.
The next round would see the Glen Grant 12yo going head to head with the Wild Turkey Rye..
Glen Grant 12yo 43% abv
Nose: Honey, apple, faint lemon, pears, barley sugar boiled sweets, fresh cut hay, faint citrus note after time..
Palate: Custard, pears, apples, vanilla, pine nuts, hint of white pepper, oak, soft orange undertone that gets stronger with time..
Finish: medium in length with a nice citrus spice..
Wild Turkey Rye 40.5% abv
Nose: Big herbal hit (rye), orange, caramel, baked apples sprinkled with brown sugar, subtle marzipan hint..
Palate: Vanilla, burnt sugar, oak, rye herbal hit, some ginger and soft orange notes, warm sweet spice..
Finish: medium with a warm ginger spice..
Another round were both drams were great and completely different, the Glen Grant was rich and complex with the Wild Turkey being big and bold again but not as complex. I originally said on the night that the Rye won over the 12yo, with it being very close between them. Having now gone back and tried them both again it is still very close between them, but I feel the Glen Grant 12yo just edges it. This is because I feel the 12yo is a more complex dram and give me a better reward for drinking it.
That would make it a draw for the night with one win a piece, for me the overall winner for the night would be the Wild Turkey 101. It’s so complex and multilayered with so much going on in a glass, with how easy it is to enjoy and at such an high abv it just wins hands down for me..
A huge thanks to everyone involved in the night, especially Steve from The Whisky Wire and to Glen Grant and Wild Turkey for an amazing night with some great drinks and people.