The unusual approach of blending completely different styles of whiskey together into a single spirit has provided a welcome new frontier. (See: Parker's Heritage Collection limited edition bourbon/rye blend and High West's bourbon/rye/scotch free-for-all for recent examples.) And like with any successful emerging trend, it was only a matter of time until the big boys jumped on the bandwagon. Enter the latest offering from Wild Turkey, called Forgiven. While the name and fanciful backstory (revolving around an 'accidental' discovery of this whiskey's recipe) are a bit of a stretch, this whiskey is an exciting step forward for the brand and the category.
It makes sense that Wild Turkey's foray into whiskey style blend would combine bourbon and rye—their flagship bourbon has a very rye-heavy mash bill with an unapologetic high proof to match. With Forgiven, they blend 78 percent of that Wild Turkey 6-year-old bourbon and 22 percent 4-year-old rye, and bottle it at 91 proof. At first blush, it's a bit of a knockout. Huge oak aromas and rye spices fly out of the glass. The taste is both complex and challenging, starting out with deep cinnamon and caramel but also a fair hit of alcohol, before settling down to more oak, vanilla, and clove. The finish is lighter and sweeter, with a little bit of pepper tingle lingering. Unlike many other blends, where the fight between bourbon and rye characteristics can be quite noticeable, Forgiven feels like a fully integrated whole: perhaps thinking of it as very-high rye bourbon makes the most sense.
While perfectly delightful straight up and standing up well to an ice cube or two, the tasty rye spice kick of Forgiven, which sells for around $50, makes this whiskey a natural for spiking your apple cider and juicing up a hot toddy as the air starts to take on an autumnal briskness. I also had wonderful luck pairing it with some homemade ginger ale with a little bitters for an amazingly elevated whiskey & ginger.
Have you tried any whiskey blends lately?
About the author: Andrew Strenio is a lover of all things potable. Since sneaking his grandmother's bourbon balls, he's moved on to touring distilleries and sipping snifters. He works by day making documentary television and films for an independent production company in Brooklyn.
Sample provided for review consideration.