Blanton's STFB vs Wild Turkey Rare Breed NCF Comparison

Is Wild Turkey Rare Breed Non Chill Filtered Better Than Blanton's Straight From The Barrel?

blanton's straight from the barrel vs rare breed non chill filtered comparison page header image

Why am I even asking if Rare Breed NCF is better than Blanton's SFTB?

When I reviewed Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel, it was so earthy and sweet that it reminded me of Wild Turkey Rare Breed Non Chill Filtered, the richer and earthier version of the standard Rare Breed Bourbon. Because I made that connection solely from memory, I figured that I should actually compare them to verify that thought and find out which one I preferred.

Both bourbons are pretty similar on paper: 6ish year old barrel proof bourbons with 12-15% rye, although Rare Breed is a blend of 6-12 year barrels and Blanton’s is single barrel. ABVs are different as well, but they’re both high enough that they don’t adversely affect the comparison. 

Pricing may be the biggest difference between them, and may lead to one of the more interesting takeaways after all of this is done. Rare Breed retails at $50-60 (internationally only unfortunately, and potentially cheaper) while Straight from the Barrel is $110+ depending on the country, and $150 MSRP in the US. In Japan at least, Rare Breed NCF is around $45-50 and SFTB is $130+.

Comparing international to US prices isn’t perfect, but the fact that SFTB is around 3x the price in Japan hints at the fact that Blanton’s price has been set quite high while Wild Turkey was… pleasantly reasonable in their decisionmaking. Admittedly, hype, desirability, and other market factors influences prices as well, because it wasn’t that long ago that SFTB was under $100, but still more expensive than Rare Breed is now.

I also recognize that comparing an export-only bourbon with a very hard to find in the US bourbon is not all that helpful, but it’s still an interesting comparison for me at least and for the few that have either gone abroad or had it shipped from Europe.

Anyways, let’s find out just how similar they are and if Rare Breed Non Chill Filtered could be a good substitute / alternative / replacement in this Blanton’s SFTB vs Wild Turkey Rare Breed NCF comparison.


The below table outlines key facts and figures for what I am comparing.

blanton's sftb vs rare breed ncf comparison traits table
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How Do They Compare?

blanton's sftb vs rare breed ncf comparison radar
blanton's sftb vs rare breed ncf comparison characteristics table

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And the winner is...Rare Breed Non Chill Filtered

blanton's sftb vs rare breed ncf comparison winner
I guess I was half right about these two bourbons being similar because they’re both intense, dense, and earthy bourbons, but they diverge a lot after that and clearly have distinct personalities. In fact, Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel just crushes Rare Breed NCF in earthiness.

So while I can’t quite say that Rare Breed Non Chill filtered is a close substitute for Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel, I can say that Rare Breed has some overlapping characteristics and dare I say actually brings more to the glass.

Blanton’s Straight From the Barrel is the sweeter, dense, more earthy and ginger-y bourbon, which I expected. It’s also super oily, running circles around Rare Breed Non Chill Filtered. I don’t know what Buffalo Trace is doing, but it’s as if there have a secret extra level of non-filtration. It’s truly straight from the barrel, oils and everything minus the wood bits that would be really unpleasant to swallow.

Other than that, Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel is often straightforward, leaning in hard on those gingery, earthy, and spicy notes that doesn’t quite meet the level of $150+ good. Many of you probably aren’t surprised, but I thought that I should mention that obvious-ish point anyways.

What Rare Breed lacks in outright density (it’s clear that it has less low-end heft and roundness), it makes up for with more complexity and nuance while still being a hearty bourbon in it’s own way. It has more dark fruit (I’m a sucker for that), fragrant oak, chocolate, and tobacco that add that extra layers of enjoyment and elevates the whole experience.

Rare Breed just drinks like the more mature and expensive bourbon, but that might be partially attributed to the older bourbon in the blend, while Blanton’s is just one barrel at one age. So yeah, batched vs single barrel does make a difference too.

On the point of dark fruit – because old Blanton’s seem to have a lot of it, I wonder if the initial Blanton’s SFTB releases from the early 2000’s are more fruity. I’ve found a handful of old Blanton’s Reds, but no early 2000’s Straight From The Barrels, so I can’t find out for myself yet.

While I prefer smelling and drinking Rare Breed Non Chill Filtered, it’s the runaway winner when I factor-in price (of course barring secondary and US accessibility). I applaud Wild Turkey and the Russell’s duo for making such an awesome bourbon and not going off the rails with price. It easily outdoes other more expensive bourbons.

With bourbon pricing being so wacky these days, especially anything from Buffalo Trace, it just goes to show that Wild Turkey is cutting through the madness and just releasing excellent bourbon at generally reasonable prices. But you know doesn’t make much sense? Rare Breed Non Chill Filtered being export-only. Give the people what they want and bring it to the US!

Alex author

Meet the Author: Alex

I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.

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If you’re on the move, this Glencairn-like stainless steel snifter glass should survive your travels. Shattered glass Glencairn’s really suck. Full transparency, this is an Amazon affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

BrüMate NOS’R, Double-Wall Stainless Steel Whiskey Nosing Glass – 7oz (Matte Black)

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