Making bourbon was once largely a skill that was handed down from generation to generation. But only a few distilleries today carry on that family tradition. One of them is Wild Turkey, where master distiller Jimmy Russell (above) and his son, associate master distiller Eddie Russell (below) work side by side. Jimmy has been with the company since 1954, while Eddie has worked there for nearly 30 years. I asked them at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival Gala what they most enjoyed about their roles at Wild Turkey.
Jimmy: “Seeing people enjoy your product that you’ve made over the years, and getting to work with your son every day.”
Eddie: “The best thing for me is getting to work with Jimmy all these years and learning all about the process.”
What about the “rock star” aspect of events like the Gala? “We’re definitely production guys,” Eddie said, “but that’s part of it. It’s still sort of funny to me that we are thought of that way. But we definitely put out a great product, and I understand why people like it.”