Traveling 200 Miles and Aged for 17 Years in Various Warehouses, Limited-Edition Expression Marks the Distillery’s First New Product Since Elevating Eddie Russell to Master Distiller
LAWRENCEBURG, KY (AUGUST 4, 2015) – They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and never was this more the case than in the legendary Bourbon-making Kentucky clan – the Russells. Marking his first release since being appointed to Master Distiller in January 2015 alongside his father, Eddie Russell and his Wild Turkey family announce the release of Wild Turkey® Master’s Keep. This limited edition, 17-year-old Bourbon heralds the next chapter of an extraordinary distilling family’s history. After 34 years perfecting his trade, Eddie joined his father, Jimmy Russell, at the helm of Wild Turkey, making them the only father and son master distilling duo in the industry with an amazing 95 years of whiskey making experience.
The story of Master’s Keep begins in 1997. Wild Turkey had a surplus of Bourbon and no warehouse space left, so Eddie needed a place to store and age the extra barrels. A friend at another distillery offered his empty stone warehouses, but Eddie knew these would age the Bourbon differently than the wooden warehouses at Wild Turkey. He decided to take a chance and experiment a little, and so the barrels spent several years in stone warehouses before eventually coming back to Wild Turkey’s wooden ones. After 17 years and 200 miles, Eddie felt these traveling barrels had reached their peak flavor. It is fair to say that this Bourbon is a welcome innovation in long-aged whiskey. And, much to his surprise, when the barrels were dumped they were at a much lower proof than anticipated. Barreled at 107 proof, the whiskey was 89 proof when dumped and 86.8 proof (43.4% alc./vol.) when bottled – a result of the time these particular barrels spent aging in stone warehouses.
“Master’s Keep is the result of a lot of experimentation, patience and faith,” said Eddie Russell. “The sweet spot for Bourbon aging is usually between 8-12 years because older Bourbons tend to become too woody or spicy from sitting too long in the barrel. What I was able to do with Master’s Keep was retain the Bourbon’s rich caramel and vanilla flavors by aging the barrels in both stone and wood warehouses, sampling from them every few months to decide their next move.”
Jimmy Russell added, “I tend to not like Bourbons aged longer than 12 or 13 years because they lose the caramel and vanilla flavors, but Eddie and I both agree thanks to the unique way this whiskey was aged we have something special here that we truly hope our Wild Turkey fans and Bourbon connoisseurs enjoy.”
Master’s Keep is delicate yet distinctly Wild Turkey. With a smooth and silky introduction that transforms into caramel and vanilla sweetness, and finishes with a satisfying burst of spiciness and oak, it is one of the finest sipping whiskies to ever come from the distillery. It is a golden hue, perhaps lighter than one might expect from a 17 year old whiskey. The color is attributed to the whiskey’s time in the stone warehouses, where the liquid would have less interaction with the barrel’s charred wood thanks to the cooler temperatures within.
Delivered in a distinguished bottle that reflects the craftsmanship and passion that went into the Bourbon itself, Master’s Keep is made of the highest quality crystalline glass. The bottle’s unparalleled clarity showcases the rich color of the liquid, while the intricately embossed work of art brings the iconic image of the wild turkey to life in a way that you can see and feel in exquisite detail. This latest limited-edition from the iconic Bourbon brand will be available nationally in small quantities starting in August 2015 for a suggested retail price of $150.
About Eddie Russell
Following in his father’s footsteps, Eddie Russell began working at the Wild Turkey distillery in 1981 at the age of 21. He started at the bottom and worked his way up, getting experience doing every job there was to do at the distillery. A curious student, eager to learn and with a good palate, Eddie worked hard to earn his father’s trust and the respect of his co-workers. As he got further along in his career, his father, Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, began to pass down to him the knowledge he had learned from his mentors and instill in him the values of integrity, craftsmanship and never compromising on quality.
Together, Jimmy and Eddie have co-created the Russell’s Reserve portfolio of whiskeys, and Eddie has also put his stamp on the Bourbon industry with several of his own creations. With one finger on the pulse of the bartending world and an ear to the preferences of today’s new whiskey drinkers, he created new products including Wild Turkey 81, Forgiven and Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary. Master’s Keep is his first new expression to be released since being appointed Master Distiller in January 2015. Keeping the Russell legacy alive, Eddie’s son, Bruce Russell, has also joined the family business, currently serving as a Russell’s Reserve brand ambassador in Austin, Texas.
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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.
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