Three Generations of The Russell Family Talk Wild Turkey Whiskey

Three Generations of The Russell Family Talk Wild Turkey Whiskey

May 22, 2024 by

By Michael McCarthy By Michael McCarthy

Three generations of the Russell family collaborate to unveil Wild Turkeys generations.

Eddie, Bruce and Jimmy Russell represent three generations of bourbon whiskey-making at Wild Turkey PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND
Eddie, Bruce and Jimmy Russell represent three generations of bourbon whiskey-making at Wild Turkey

Master distiller Eddie Russell isn’t into hyperbole. But I love how he describes the reaction Wild Turkey (wildturkey.com) fans have when meeting his father, Jimmy, in the brand’s visitor center in Lawrenceburg, Ky. “It’s like they’re meeting the Michael Jordan of bourbon!” Eddie isn’t wrong.

Celebrating 70 years at Wild Turkey this fall, his father is on the Mount Rushmore of whiskey making. He and Eddie are among the only active father-son duos of bourbon master distillers worldwide. Jimmy still shows up at the visitor center a few days a week to chat with the distillery’s guests. “My father taught me to treat people the same regardless of their status, and to do things like distilling the right way,” says Eddie, whose son, Bruce, is now part of the bourbon-making tradition as an associate blender.

The Generations release. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND
The Generations release.

“The experience of working with my son and grandson to create a blend that celebrates our family and tradition has been a highlight of my career.” –JIMMY RUSSELL

That mindset is the foundation of Generations, a limited-release, high-proof blend of 9-, 12-, 14- and 15-year-old bourbons in a single bottle that celebrates the family’s legacy. The blend was bottled at barrel proof and non-chill filtered, allowing brilliant character with each sip. The creation represents the favorite taste profiles of each Russell generation: Eddie’s love of softer, honeyed, vanillaladen favors of older 14- and 15-year-old bourbons; Jimmy’s affection for bold tastes found in 9-year-old bourbons; and Bruce’s adoration of the showy flavors of 12-year-old bourbons.

“I’ve made some great whiskeys throughout my career, and Generations is going in my hall of fame,” says Jimmy. “The experience of working with my son and grandson to create a blend that celebrates our family and tradition has been a highlight of my career.”

I ask Eddie, who worked up the whiskey-making ladder, if he ever worried about being in his father’s shadow. “That was the first thing everyone said to me early in my career, ‘Your dad is a rock star. You’ve got big shoes to fill.’ I told them I didn’t want to fill his shoes. I wanted to slip them on and follow my own path.” Every once in a while, as with Generations, those paths merge into one to create something fathers everywhere can celebrate.













Three Generations of The Russell Family Talk Wild Turkey Whiskey

May 22, 2024 by By Michael McCarthy

Three generations of the Russell family collaborate to unveil Wild Turkeys generations.

Eddie, Bruce and Jimmy Russell represent three generations of bourbon whiskey-making at Wild Turkey PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND
Eddie, Bruce and Jimmy Russell represent three generations of bourbon whiskey-making at Wild Turkey

Master distiller Eddie Russell isn’t into hyperbole. But I love how he describes the reaction Wild Turkey (wildturkey.com) fans have when meeting his father, Jimmy, in the brand’s visitor center in Lawrenceburg, Ky. “It’s like they’re meeting the Michael Jordan of bourbon!” Eddie isn’t wrong.

Celebrating 70 years at Wild Turkey this fall, his father is on the Mount Rushmore of whiskey making. He and Eddie are among the only active father-son duos of bourbon master distillers worldwide. Jimmy still shows up at the visitor center a few days a week to chat with the distillery’s guests. “My father taught me to treat people the same regardless of their status, and to do things like distilling the right way,” says Eddie, whose son, Bruce, is now part of the bourbon-making tradition as an associate blender.

The Generations release. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND
The Generations release.

“The experience of working with my son and grandson to create a blend that celebrates our family and tradition has been a highlight of my career.” –JIMMY RUSSELL

That mindset is the foundation of Generations, a limited-release, high-proof blend of 9-, 12-, 14- and 15-year-old bourbons in a single bottle that celebrates the family’s legacy. The blend was bottled at barrel proof and non-chill filtered, allowing brilliant character with each sip. The creation represents the favorite taste profiles of each Russell generation: Eddie’s love of softer, honeyed, vanillaladen favors of older 14- and 15-year-old bourbons; Jimmy’s affection for bold tastes found in 9-year-old bourbons; and Bruce’s adoration of the showy flavors of 12-year-old bourbons.

“I’ve made some great whiskeys throughout my career, and Generations is going in my hall of fame,” says Jimmy. “The experience of working with my son and grandson to create a blend that celebrates our family and tradition has been a highlight of my career.”

I ask Eddie, who worked up the whiskey-making ladder, if he ever worried about being in his father’s shadow. “That was the first thing everyone said to me early in my career, ‘Your dad is a rock star. You’ve got big shoes to fill.’ I told them I didn’t want to fill his shoes. I wanted to slip them on and follow my own path.” Every once in a while, as with Generations, those paths merge into one to create something fathers everywhere can celebrate.