Wild Turkey Longbranch

A Famed Bourbon in the Making (Well, alright, alright, alright!)

On Wild Turkey Hill in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, the Ripy brother opened up what would later be known as the Wild Turkey distillery in 1869. It was a hit at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago when it was chosen to represent Kentucky, although it wasn’t until 1940 when distillery got its name after an executive’s annual wild turkey hunting trip.

In 1954, nearly 100 years later, Jimmy Russell, the Master Distiller, joined Wild Turkey, learning from Bill Hughes, the second master distiller and Ernest W. Ripy. He would go on to uphold the staunch bourbon-making traditions that were set into stone before the Prohibition.

As it turns out, Jimmy Russel is the longest-tenured active master distiller in the world. He’s been given all kinds of nicknames like the “Buddha of Bourbon” or “The Master Distiller’s Master Distiller.” With 60 years of making whiskey at Wild Turkey, he worked his way up from sweeping the floors to taking the reins. He studied under the best, capturing the best bourbon-making secrets and bringing them to life which is evident in every bottle.

It runs in the family for his son, Eddie Russell, joined Wild Turkey in 1981. After 35 years, he too became a master distiller with Wild Turkey, working right along his dad to craft some truly exceptional spirits.

One of the most phenomenal creations that Eddie Russel has brought into fruition is Wild Turkey Longbranch. It’s made in small batches and refined with both oak and Texas Mesquite charcoals. It’s a very unique way to craft whiskey, one that pays off in a sublimely-balanced, ultra-smooth whiskey designed to be sipped and savoured. Another unique aspect of this whiskey release is that it was cultivated with none other than Matthew McConaughey.

With an aging process that endures 8 years before the filtering to bring it down to 86-proof, Wild Turkey Longbranch is a subtly smoky and sweet whiskey. On the nose, the aroma is utterly well-balanced with vanilla and spices, blended perfectly together. The first sip reveals deep caramel with pear and little hints of citrus to help bring the experience full circle.

Wild Turkey Longbranch finishes with that subtle smokiness, nice and buttery smooth with light touch of toasted oak and pepper. It’s a gorgeous display of craftsmanship that could only bear the Wild Turkey moniker. Fans of Matthew McConaughey have sought it out as much as whiskey lovers themselves. No matter which you classify yourself as (perhaps both), you shouldn’t let the chance to taste it for yourself slip away.

Wild Turkey Longbranch, Whisky Quarterly Ontario