Jim Beam vs Wild Turkey: The Differences and Which is Better?


Jim Beam and Wild Turkey are the two best-selling bourbon whiskeys in the United States.

Comparing Jim Beam vs Wild Turkey is similar to comparing Coca-Cola and Pepsi; they fall under the same category and have somewhat similar flavors, but they have vast differences!

Read on to learn more about what makes Jim Beam vs Wild Turkey bourbon whiskeys unique, so you know which bottle to get in the liqueur store.

What is Jim Beam?

Jim Beam is a bourbon whisky aged for at least four years in new charred oak barrels. The company follows the same recipe used since Jim Beam’s creation in 1795, comprising malted barley, corn, and rye.

Today, Jim Beam belongs to Suntory Holdings, a Japanese conglomerate known for its extensive selection of spirits.

What makes Jim Beam different from other bourbon whiskeys is the amount of rye used, which is higher compared to other whiskeys. That gives Jim Beam that distinctive spicy note that people yearn for.

Fun fact: 

Jim Beam is the world’s best-selling bourbon whisky, selling almost 11 million 9-liter cases a year! While it doesn’t sell as high as Jack Daniel’s, these are two different whiskeys, making Jim Beam the best-selling bourbon.

We believe Jim Beam is a fantastic entry-level bourbon whisky, which we use as mixers for cocktails.

It’s possible to enjoy it neat or on the rocks, but there are better and higher-quality bourbon whiskeys out there.


Jim Beam works excellently with Coke, a simple mixed drink that has you feel the buzz!

What is Wild Turkey?

image of  vs Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey is another pleasant bourbon whiskey that tastes smooth and mellow. It’s a bit easier to drink compared to Jim Beam! When we mean versatile, we believe you can enjoy it as a mixer in cocktails or on its own, neat, straight, or on the rocks. (*)

The bourbon whiskey is aged for up to eight years in charred American oak barrels. The barrels will go through a level 4 char called the “Alligator char!” That means these barrels go through 55 seconds of fire until they begin cracking and peeling—the end result: A rough, shiny pattern looking like alligator skin, hence the name.

Because of the unique process, the barrels give Wild Turkey its deep color and spicy flavor profile. Moreover, the bourbon whiskey contains natural limestone-filtered water and uses non-GMO grains when making the mash.

The company behind Wild Turkey is Campari, an Italian conglomerate that produces a wide selection of drinks like rum, vodka, tequila, mezcal, and a lot more!

Jim Beam vs Wild Turkey

Check out this simple comparison table when comparing Jim Beam vs Wild Turkey:

DifferenceJim BeamWild Turkey
NoseSweet with strong notes of corn, hay, and vanillaIt tastes sweet with notes of cinnamon, caramel, black pepper, raisins, and vanilla
PalateLight-bodied with notes of spices, black pepper, toasty oak, vanilla, and a hint of nail polishSweet and fruity with notes of clove and nutmeg
FinishShort-lived with warmth and sweetness, having oaky notesMedium-length with a pleasant warmth, having notes of spice and sweet vanilla
Alcohol content40%50.5%
Company ownerSuntory Holdings in JapanCampari in Italy
PriceApproximately $24Approximately $22

As you can see, these are both bourbon whiskeys but with different flavors! Both have sweet and spicy notes, but Wild Turkey is fruitier, whereas Jim Beam is oakier. The price difference isn’t that high, and it would depend on where you purchase it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know more about Jim Beam and Wild Turkey, what else is there to learn about these bourbon whiskeys?

Check out these frequently asked questions:

1. What is better, Jim Beam or Wild Turkey?

There is no better bourbon whiskey as it depends on your preferred taste and how you’ll use it. If you want something with stronger alcohol content for sipping or as a mixer, we recommend getting Wild Turkey. However, if you want something more well-known to use as a mixer with slightly lower alcohol content, Jim Beam is the way to go.

2. What is bourbon whiskey?

Bourbon is an American whiskey made primarily of corn. It tastes a bit sweeter than other types of whiskeys, with a diverse flavor profile consisting of caramel, oak, spice, and vanilla.

Fun fact: 

Bourbon needs to be made of at least 51% corn, aged in new oak-charred barrels. This is a strict rule implemented for a liqueur to be considered bourbon! And interestingly, bourbon whiskey can only be made within the United States.

3. What cocktails use bourbon whiskey?

Many cocktail recipes use either Jim Beam or Wild Turkey, such as:

  • Bourbon Sour
  • Whiskey Smash
  • Kentucky Mule
  • Bourbon Sidecar
  • Boulevardier Cocktail
  • And more!
Fun fact: 

You can also cook with bourbon whiskey, thanks to its smoky caramel and vanilla flavor. It works excellently with sweet and savory dishes, whether you want it in chicken wings, BBQ sauce, or even bread pudding!

Wrapping It Up

When it comes to Jim Beam vs Wild Turkey, the difference doesn’t only lie in the brand name but in flavors and appearances. Hopefully, you learned a lot about these two popular bourbon whisky brands!

For those who want to learn more about your favorite liqueurs, we’ve got more in store here at Nomspedia; give our other blogs a read!

Up next: What’s The Best Jim Beam Replacement? Our Ultimate List!

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