The tale of Wild Turkey Forgiven (WTF) goes as follows. One day the distillery crew there at Wild Turkey mistakenly combined one of their high-proof ryes with their bourbon when blending. The Master Distiller, Eddie Russell, ended up liking the mix and told them all was forgiven, hence the name.
Forgiven is made from 78% 6 year bourbon and 22% 4 year rye and with that mix ratio It’s no surprise that the rye character sticks out so much. High West has made 2 great bourbon rye blends (Bourye & Son of Bourye) where the characters of the bourbon and the rye work harmoniously. I’m not really feeling that same harmony with this one as bourbon dominates the nose while rye dominates the palate instead of getting a nicely balanced symphony of the two.
Wild Turkey Forgiven Review
Distiller: Wild Turkey
Bourbon is dominant on the nose with caramel and dessert notes hitting before the rye spice. Along with the caramel and rye spice are notes of citrus, vanilla, cherries, ripe orchard fruit and cinnamon.
Rye spice and that Wild Turkey fingerprint come first with some caramel, orange zest, cinnamon, pepper, leather, chocolate, a hint of melon and an overall nutty overtone.
Long dry finish that starts out with astringent rye spice and oak before fading to caramel syrup.
BALANCE, BODY, FEEL
The rye rolls right over the bourbon notes and dominate throwing it off balance. Has a medium body with rough texture that packs a punch. This run hotter (carries more burn) than Wild Turkey 101.
I feel a little ambivalent towards the Wild Turkey Forgiven. It’s good, but it just doesn’t feel quite right. Almost like it’s unfinished or a work in progress, and at the price point I can’t say I love that aspect and it makes me a bit sad to say that about something from one of my favorite distilleries. It also makes me sad to think that may be the reason we won’t be able buy any Wild Turkey Rye 101 anywhere except at a bar (on-premise) anytime soon is because of this “snafu” and between the two I’d rather have the 101 Rye.
Wild Turkey Forgiven: Empty Bottle Reflections (01-10-15 update)
After finishing this I have zero desire to ever buy another bottle. Not because this is complete garbage, because it’s not, but because of the price and especially when there are some great bourbon rye blends out there like Son of Bourye from High West and the recently re-released Bourye I’d rather buy those.
The only noticeable change while drinking through it was the dark fruit starting to appear more towards the end and now, with this last glass, it’s become fairly prominent along with the cinnamon which has moved up the chain a notch or two. Outside of those two little adjustments it didn’t get any more exciting or boring. Though if you get the chance I still recommend giving it a try because who knows, you may love it. I know several people who do.
FINAL VERDICT: Try before you buy.