A bottle of Wild Turkey Generations whiskey with signed barrell staves.

Wild Turkey Unveils Generations – A Whiskey Blend Honouring 3 Generations of the Russell Family

4 minutes

Wild Turkey Generations is a collaboration of Jimmy, Eddie, and Bruce Russell, 3 generations of the Russell family representing more than 100 years of whiskey making experience. This release celebrates that experience, and the 3 generations of the Russell family that have been making whiskey at Wild Turkey, since Jimmy Russell joined Wild Turkey in 1954.

A History of Wild Turkey

The distillery that is today known as Wild Turkey, began with a grocer called Austin Nichols that sold wine and spirits in 1855.

In 1891, Thomas Ripy founded a family distillery on Wild Turkey Hill in Lawrenceburg, KY, however, the distillery was not called Wild Turkey at that time. They sold whiskey wholesale to retailers such as Austin Nichols that would bottle the whiskey for sale under their own brand names.

During prohibition, production was cut significantly, down to producing small quantities of Bourbon that were legally allowed to be used for medical purposes, and sold through Austin Nichols.

The distillery survived prohibition, modernized production and scaled up operations.

In 1940, an Austin Nichol executive named Thomas McCarthy brought some of this whiskey on a hunting trip. As the story goes, they were hunting wild turkeys, and the whisky was a hit with his fellow hunters. After the trip his friends would ask him for more of that ‘Wild Turkey’ bourbon.

In 1942 Austin Nichols began selling bourbon under the Wild Turkey name.

The Ripys were bought out by Robert and Alvin Gould in 1929.

Austin Nichol continued to purchase bourbon from the distillery and bottle it under the Wild Turkey name until purchasing the distillery in 1971 and renaming it Wild Turkey Distillery.

In 1980, the distillery was purchased by Pernod Ricard.

In 2009, Pernod Ricard sold Wild Turkey Distillery to the Campari Group.

Over the next few years Wild Turkey expanded production with a new facility near the original distillery, a new bottling facility where they also bottle Campari’s SKYY Vodka.

The Russell Family, and Wild Turkey

Master distiller Jimmy Russell joined Wild Turkey in 1954 and has overseen the introduction of a number of new products including a bourbon liqueur, and Rare Breed.

Jimmy’s son Eddie joined Wild Turkey in 1981. In 2015 Eddie is officially given the title of Master Distiller making the father son duo of Jimmy and Eddie Russel the only currently active father son duo of master bourbon distillers in the world.

Eddie’s son Bruce joined Wild Turkey in 2010 and was recently made an associate distiller.

The iconic Russell family has had a huge impact on the bourbon industry and the Generations release is intended to honour that legacy with an ultra-premium limited release.

Generations – An Ultra-Premium, Limited Release Bourbon

Jimmie, Eddie, and Bruce Russell.
Photo courtesy of Wild Turkey

Generations is created from a blend of 4 hand-selected whiskeys that reflect the palates of the Russell family.

Jimmy Russell – Jimmy prefers the classic Wild Turkey profile that he has been overseeing for more than 50 years, so he chose a 9 year old expression.

Eddie Russell – Eddie’s taste tends towards a more refined, softer honeyed, and vanilla flavour present in older bourbons so he chose a 15 year old.

Bruce Russell – Bruce’s palate is similar to his grandfather. He prefers bold flavours so he chose the 12 year old expression.

Additionally, Eddie and Bruce together chose a 4th whisky, a 14 year old, to round out the blend.

All the Russell's share the same desire to create the highest quality whisky by meticulously blending the 4 expressions to create an iconic one-of-a-kind bourbon with layers of complexity.

"I've made some great whiskies throughout my career, and Generations is going in my hall of fame," said Master Distiller Jimmy Russell. "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 Russel is the longest working active distiller in the industry, having worked at Wild Turkey since 1954. His son Jimmy started in 1981, with Eddie’s son Bruce following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps in 2010.

According to the Wild Turkey website, Generations is a 120.8 proof (60.4% alc.) blend with oak and vanilla followed by floral and spice notes with hints of baked apple, toffee and cloves on the nose, a taste of vanilla, caramel and dark cherry that give way to warm notes of pepper and aged oak, and a finish of soft wood notes that give way to mocha-coffee, oak, and black pepper.

"From the moment Jimmy, Bruce and I started talking about Generations, I knew we had something incredibly special on our hands," said Master Distiller Eddie Russell. "Not only am I proud of the rich, intricate whiskey that we created, but I'm honored to have worked alongside my son for his first release as Associate Blender. Seeing his name etched into the bottle next to ours will forever bring me back to the memories we shared when creating this rare release."

Product Information

This is a very limited release of about 5,000 bottles that will be available to select retailers nationwide, along with limited pre-sale online in the next few days.

Suggested retail price: $450.


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