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Wild Turkey “Forgiven” – Blended Rye & Bourbon

Proof: 91
Color: medium/dark amber
Nose: sweet caramel, popcorn, cloves, white pepper
Taste: caramel, vanilla, citrus, cloves, kettle corn
Value: spot on

Yes, you’re right.  I’ve been avoiding Wild Turkey.

It’s not that I look down my nose on it, but from what I can recall of the past few times I’ve had it, I was less than impressed.

However, I’ve heard nothing but good things about Eddie Russell’s ‘Forgiven’ for the past three years.

And now that a bottle can be had for just a touch over $40 (as opposed to $50, where it has been) I decided to dive in.

Off to the trademark pending “Let’s not mince words” statement:

Wild Turkey Forgiven is fantastic. This is a whiskey that deserves respect and thoughtful consideration.

I wasn’t expecting to gush over this blend of Bourbon and Rye whiskies, but I’m gonna.

Coming in at the $40-ish mark, Forgiven is pricier than Four Roses Small Batch, Buffalo Trace, and Elijah Craig; but less expensive than Bib & Tucker and Hudson Baby Bourbon.  So how does it compare?

Forgiven has the bite you’d expect from a high-rye Bourbon (and it better) but it’s layered and complex.  While not as smooth as Hudson Baby Bourbon, it has a wilder flavor profile. But it beats Buffalo Trace and Bib & Tucker for flavor, hands down.

I can talk about the nose, which is, predictably: caramel, popcorn, cloves, and white pepper.

I can talk about the taste, which is wild: caramel, vanilla, citrus, cloves, kettle corn; and to a lesser degree pear, apple, and roasted almonds.

But Wild Turkey Forgiven is more than the sum of its parts.  It’s big and bold.  It stands proud on its Wild Turkey tradition, but thanks to some modern thinking, exceeds the brand.  Your first sip will likely hit you hard, but every sip after that is velvety smooth.

Honestly, my first dram reminded me of a fine Cognac. Courvoisier VSOP came to mind; likely a byproduct of the orange, pear and roasted almond notes on the palate.

The finish is long, warm and sweet, with just a touch of spice left on the tip the tongue. I’ve quoted Jimmy Russell before: you want a nice finish; some good flavor left on your palate so you want to go get more.  Forgiven hits that sentiment on the nose. Who doesn’t want more caramel, cloves, and citrus in their life?

Wild Turkey Forgiven is one of those whiskies that I’ll be sipping for a good long time.  Here’s hoping that they keep making it!

Final Rating: 91 out of 100