Kentucky Distillery Commemorates Master Distiller Jimmy Russell's Six DecadesJuly 30, 2014 By: Nightclub & Bar
A living legend in the global spirits industry gets his due, as the whiskey brand he’s nurtured for an astonishing 60 years releases Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary, a commemorative Bourbon in his honor. Celebrating six decades of service with the famous Lawrenceburg, Kentucky Distillery this year, Wild Turkey’s Jimmy Russell is now considered the longest-tenured, active Master Distiller in the world.
A man who has dedicated his life to preserving the centuries-old craft of whiskey making deserves a Bourbon befitting this unique milestone. Enter Eddie Russell, who’s been making whiskey by his father’s side for more than 30 years. With Jimmy and Eddie’s seal of approval, Wild Turkey is proud to release Diamond Anniversary, an exclusive, limited-edition mingling of 13- and 16-year-old whiskies that’s as special a Bourbon as Jimmy is a distiller.
Known among peers, Bourbon fans and aficionados as the “Buddha of Bourbon, the “Master Distiller’s Master Distiller” and the “Elder Statesman,” never before has such a product been created to honor a single individual who has so substantially contributed to the long success of a spirits brand. Jimmy has long been recognized as an innovator in the category and a steward of Bourbon history and craft, remaining staunchly committed to making Bourbon using traditional methods.
Since his first day on the job in 1954, Jimmy has seen man land on the moon, the walls of communism crumble, the invention of the Internet and more liquor fads come and go than he can count. He has raised a glass of Wild Turkey with countless thousands of people around the globe, created or co-created no less than 10 Bourbons, invented the first honey-flavored Bourbon, was inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame™, and received a formal acclamation in the Kentucky legislature thanking him for his life-long contributions to the Bourbon industry and Commonwealth of Kentucky. It’s been a long and exciting road for Jimmy Russell, but the journey isn’t over yet.
“After 60 years of making whiskey, I still love what I do and all the incredible people I’ve had the chance to meet,” said Jimmy. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, as soon as it feels like work I’ll retire. If it hasn’t happened after getting up and driving my Ford pickup over to the distillery about 20,000 times at this point, I don’t think it will be happening anytime soon.”
Eddie is a veteran at Wild Turkey as well, working there for 33 years. Together, the father and son duo – another rarity in the industry – have crafted several bourbons together. For Jimmy’s 60th anniversary, Eddie wanted to make something extra special for his beloved father and mentor. To create Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary, Eddie hand selected rare barrels that had been aging for 13 and 16 years (nearly twice as long as the flagship Wild Turkey 101) that yielded a spirit with tantalizing notes of caramel and vanilla, complete with a spicy oak finish. Fortuitously, these barrels were filled around the time Jimmy was celebrating his 45th anniversary, and Eddie was thinking about planning Jimmy’s retirement party.
“When I was creating Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary, my father’s voice was in my head guiding me. He taught me everything I know, so I wanted to craft something that reflected all of the invaluable knowledge he passed on to me; something that was worthy of one of the greatest Master Distillers of all time,” remarked Eddie.
Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary is exclusively offered at a suggested retail price of $124.99, and will be available nationally, but in small quantities starting in August 2014.