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New Wild Turkey 81 Bourbon Takes Flight

June 8, 2011


LAWRENCEBURG, KY – Wild Turkey is expanding its portfolio with the addition of Wild Turkey 81 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The first whiskey solely crafted by Associate Distiller and Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame member Eddie Russell, Wild Turkey 81 was developed with bartenders and consumers in mind, creating a truly mixable spirit that delivers Wild Turkey’s famous kick every time.

Wild Turkey 81

Wild Turkey 81 was born through extensive research – that is if you consider sitting in bars across America talking to bartenders and whiskey fans research. Having already collaborated with his father, famed Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, on Russell’s Reserve Bourbon and Rye, Eddie wanted to create a spirit all his own that met the needs of today’s whiskey drinker, who is looking to experience bourbon with mixers and in classic, good-time cocktails more and more.

“I discovered those folks who didn’t want the punch of Wild Turkey 101 were sorely disappointed by other whiskies that disappeared like a fox down a hole when mixed with things like cola,” said Eddie Russell.  “So with Jimmy’s blessing, I developed Wild Turkey 81 – an everyday whiskey that can stand up to any mixer or in any cocktail with the bold, in-your-face taste that is distinctively Wild Turkey.”

Wild Turkey 81 uses Wild Turkey’s famous high-rye mash for a spicy kick that lasts and lasts. Hand-selected American oak barrels from the Ozark Mountains receive an “alligator char” before being filled at the distillery in Lawrenceburg, Ky. Wild Turkey 81 is the only bourbon in the category to use this expensive, deep char (also called a “#4 char”), resulting in extreme vanilla and caramel flavors that are hallmarks of a Wild Turkey Bourbon.

The filled barrels are placed in wood-rack warehouses that use no heaters or air conditioners, unlike others in the category.  Continued Eddie, “Mother Nature’s got her hands all over this brand.  We like to do things the old fashioned way around here, letting the barrels age solely based on the weather that shows up on our doorstep that day, which creates a more balanced whiskey.”

Wild Turkey 81 is a masterful blend composed primarily of six, seven and eight year old whiskies, making it the longest-aged bourbon or Tennessee whiskey in its class. The result is a whiskey with a deep, rich amber color, and a nose full of fruit, butterscotch, toffee and toasted oak. On the tongue, you discover cigar-box sweetness, caramel, vanilla and pear, with a long finish of rich spice notes and hints of toast.

“I’ve spent the last 30 years working with my son Eddie, and teaching him everything I know about making bourbon,” said Jimmy Russell, himself a 57-year whiskey veteran. “As soon as I tasted Wild Turkey 81, it was clear he was paying attention.  I am one proud Dad.”

Wild Turkey 81 shows up to the party wearing brand-spankin’-new duds, in the form of the first package change to the Wild Turkey family in nearly 15 years. The classic bottle shape remains the same, but the label gets a “badass” makeover. It is cleaner and more aggressive than before, with the famous Wild Turkey symbol standing proud. The label gives a stronger nod to which Wild Turkey product you are about to enjoy – 81 or 101 – and shouts out our proud Kentucky heritage like never before.  The new packaging will be featured with Wild Turkey 81, Wild Turkey Rye, and the kickass granddaddy of them all: Wild Turkey 101.

“Even a good old boy changes his shirt every now and again,” said Jimmy.

Wild Turkey 81 is priced at $19.99  and is available now in the United States at bars, restaurants and spirits retailers nationwide. It will be supported by an extensive marketing campaign featuring print, outdoor and digital advertising, as well as a loud, badass social media campaign.

Wild Turkey 81 joins an already impressive lineup of bourbons and rye whiskies from the Wild Turkey distillery in Lawrenceburg, Ky., including the iconic Wild Turkey 101, Rare Breed, Kentucky Spirit, Russell’s Reserve and American Honey. Wild Turkey is distributed in the United States by Skyy Spirits.


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