Elder Statesman of the Bourbon Industry Recognized as Longest-Tenured, Active
Master Distiller in the World
LAWRENCEBURG, KY (JULY 28, 2014) – Today, 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.
About Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell
Jimmy Russell grew up less than five miles from the Wild Turkey distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY, which employed both his father and wife Joretta. Since his first day in 1954, he has worked just about every job there is, including positions as Plant Manager, Bottling House Manager, Quality Control and finally, the apex of his career as Master Distiller. He learned from the best, studying under whiskey luminaries Bill Hughes, Wild Turkey’s second Master Distiller, and Ernest W. Ripy, Jr., great-nephew of distillery founder James Ripy and Wild Turkey’s third Master Distiller.
Over the past 60 years, Jimmy has been responsible for the launches of a number of new Wild Turkey brands and expressions, such as Tradition, Tribute, 17-year-old Wild Turkey for Japan, Rare Breed, American Spirit, Kentucky Spirit and Russell’s Reserve, which he co-created with son Eddie. Jimmy broke new ground in 1976 with the first honeyed Bourbon, at the time called Wild Turkey Liqueur. Today, fans know that product better as American Honey. Jimmy is also responsible for making sure the legacy of Wild Turkey stays intact by overseeing the production of Wild Turkey 101, Wild Turkey’s flagship brand. While waxing poetic about “aging techniques” and “grain selection,” you can often find Jimmy enjoying his beloved Bourbon neat or with a touch of branch water.
For Additional Information, Contact:
Sarah Bessette Vineetha Pathrose
Campari America Edible
About Campari America
Campari America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Davide Campari-Milano S.p.A. (Reuters CPRI.MI – Bloomberg CPR IM). At the heart of Campari America are two legends in the American spirits industry. The first, Skyy Spirits, was founded in San Francisco back in 1992 by the entrepreneur who invented iconic SKYY Vodka. The second is the world-famous Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, where they have been making the world’s finest whiskies since the 1800’s. Both companies were purchased by Davide Campari-Milano and together they form Campari America, which has built a portfolio unrivaled in its quality, innovation and style, making it a top choice among distributors, retailers and consumers. Campari America manages Gruppo Campari’s portfolio in the US with such leading brands as SKYY® Vodka, SKYY Infusions®, Campari®, Aperol®, Wild Turkey® Straight Kentucky Bourbon, American Honey®, Russell’s Reserve®, Glen Grant® Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Forty Creek® Canadian Whisky, Cabo Wabo® Tequila, Espolón® Tequila, Appleton® Estate Rum, Wray & Nephew® Rum, Coruba® Rum, Ouzo 12®, X-Rated® Fusion Liqueur®, Frangelico®, Cynar®, Averna®, Braulio®, Carolans Irish Cream®, Irish Mist® Liqueur, Sagatiba® Cachaça and Jean-Marc XO Vodka®. Campari America is also the exclusive US distributor of BULLDOG® Gin.
Campari America is headquartered in San Francisco, California. More information on the company can be found at www.campariamerica.com, www.facebook.com/campariamerica, Twitter: @CampariAmerica and www.camparigroup.com. Please enjoy Campari America brands responsibly and in moderation.