Jimmy Russell


Dubbed the “Buddha of Bourbon” and “The Master Distiller’s Master Distiller” by his industry peers, James C. “Jimmy” Russell has been making whiskey at the Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky for over 60 years, and today, is the longest-tenured, active spirits Master Distiller in the world.

Growing up five miles from the distillery, he followed his father, who taught him the traditions and techniques of Bourbon craftsmanship.

From his first position at the distillery sweeping floors, he reached the apex of his career as Master Distiller in the 1960’s learning how to make Bourbon the right way.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell cemented Jimmy’s achievements for posterity in the United States Congressional Record, while Kentucky Senator Julian Carroll and Representative Kim King sponsored a similar resolution in the Kentucky General Assembly.

Furthermore, Jimmy was granted a Lifetime Honorary Membership to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association’s Board of Directors, an honor bestowed to only five other individuals within the organization's storied 134-year history.

Jimmy has passed on his Bourbon wisdom to his younger son Eddie Russell. Still, at the age of 80, he’s not  ready to retire yet.


“Not the easiest or the fastest way, but the right way”

As the son of legendary Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, and the third generation Russell to work at the Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, Eddie has now over 35 years of experience under his belt.

Like his father, Eddie is involved through the entire distillation and aging process of Wild Turkey Bourbon, ensuring every bottle meets the exacting whiskey standards set forth by their predecessors.

In 2010, Eddie joined his father and other greats in the Bourbon industry when he was inducted into the illustrious Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame™. A few years later, it was time for Eddie to do the honoring.

In celebration of his father’s 60th anniversary at Wild Turkey in 2014, he created Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary, an outstanding limited edition expression of 13- and 16-year-old whiskies.

Eddie’s Bourbon legacy also includes the introduction of Wild Turkey 81, premium bourbon that can stand up to any mixer or in any cocktail without losing the distinctive flavor of original Wild Turkey Kentucky Bourbon.

Related video: 
Eddie Russell - Part 2
Jimmy Russell- Part 1
Jimmy Russell- Part 2