As innovation continues to drive a large part of the growth seen in the spirits industry, one should not be surprised to see the lines between categories of spirits blur. Captain Morgan Rum, one of the first major brands to acknowledge the shift, launched a cross spirit category product, Captain Morgan Black. This oaky spiced rum was aimed directly toward whiskey drinkers. Wild Turkey Spiced is applying a similar tactic in reverse, as they try to appeal to the spiced rum consumer. Wild Turkey Spiced is an interesting move at a time when non-whiskey brands are attempting to become more like whiskey in order to capture the incredible growth in clientele.
Wild Turkey Spice was not the first spiced whiskey to enter the market. Pow-Wow Botanical Rye was. However, the focus of Pow-Wow as that of the small, but growing interest in aged botanicals, including aged gen as well as genever. Although the volume of spiced rum continues, the price is much lower than aged gin, which is seen as a premium product. Wiled turkey Spiced carries the label “Wild Turkey Spiced” instead of “Wild Turkey Spiced Whiskey.” In addition Wild Turkey Spiced carries the words “Mighty Spirit” on its label that causes many to think it too strong.
Wild Turkey Spices is a blend of Kentucky Straight Bourbon, spices and natural flavors. The term other natural flavors often refers to sugar, making it clear from the beginning that Wild Turkey spiced includes sugar. The drink has a nose reminiscent of Dr. Pepper, bourbon, clove, vanilla, oak, caramel, pepper, ginger and subtle cherry. Its entry is sweet, with hints of brown sugar and cherry that quickly transitions to the midpalate flavors of clove, ginger, pepper, brown sugar and oak. Unfortunately these flavors in Wild Turkey spiced do not integrate, causing it to taste like bad, sweet and spicy whiskey. In fact, reviewers consider Wild Turkey Spiced the first truly bad products to carry the label.
The parent company of Wild Turkey is obviously flailing in the market. They should communicate to whiskey consumers that Wild Turkey 101 offers one of the most affordable and quality whiskeys on the market. Instead, they are in an odd spot where they are considered too fiery and strong for average customers and not close enough to premium for connoisseurs. Unfortunately, Wilde Turkey Spiced is a step backwards in solving these problems.
Master Distiller Jimmy Russell is known to be notoriously tough in the whiskey he produces, making it hard to believe that he has allowed the production and sale of Wild Turkey Spiced. Wild Turkey Spiced is developed by Associate Master Distiller Eddie Russell. This is a clear sign that Jimmy Russell is no longer in the position of dictating what Wild Turkey produces. The blend no longer carries his name but that of Eddie Russell, something dictated by parent company Campari America. Wild Turkey Spiced is unlikely to gain traction in the market. It is causing more harm for an underrated bourbon than help.