26 May 2017

Whisky Insiders Interview No.82 - Eddie Russell

Wild Turkey

Master Distiller


How long have you been working in the whiskey industry?
I have been working for Wild Turkey for 36 years alongside my father Jimmy Russell, who has been Master Distiller for 63 years.  We’re proud to be the only active father and son distiller partnership.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
My biggest career highlight was definitely being voted in to the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2001. Jimmy inducted me himselfit was a real special moment. It showed Jimmy investing me in to the brand and the family business.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
The first dram I ever had was an 8 to 9 year old Wild Turkey bourbon.

What does whiskey mean to you?
The first thing whiskey makes me think of is family and generations of whiskey making. I think of the rich history we all have with different whiskies around the world and how we learned it, passing it down from generation to generation.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
I’ll definitely still be making Wild Turkey 5 years from now. In my business, I have to plan 13 years down the road. Youre thinking that far ahead through every step of making the bourbon, thinking about where the growth is going to be, the new cocktail, predicting trends in the industry etc. We’ll never change our recipe as we’ve stayed true to our original recipe from the beginning even after prohibition, but we’re being creative with different chars and barrels to continue to stand out.

In terms of where I would see my son in five years’ time, he’s been a brand ambassador for us for about 3 years now, and he is set on the road to be the next Master Distiller. I’m so proud to see him join the family business and have the passion for bourbon-making I have always had.

What was your last dram?
I had a Wild Turkey 101 last. It’s really mixable and makes a great real Kentucky Old Fashioned! Other experts in the industry have sampled and smelt it blind, and known straight away that its ‘pure Jimmy Russell’.

Do you have a favourite whiskey and food pairing combination?
I love the Russell’s Reserve with a good BBQ or grilled steak. Youve got the char on the meat which goes perfectly with the bourbon.

Whats your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
Any time is a good time for bourbon, but it doesn’t get no better than in the warehouse, right out of the barrel. That’s my most favourite place to take a sip of Wild Turkey.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whiskey horizon?
There’s a generational change happening in our industry at the moment, and drinking whiskey is getting popular amongst a new generation. Premium whiskies are the next big thing, as these younger drinkers are also discerning drinkers, willing to drink less and pay more for what they know is good, it’s completely different from 10 or 15 years ago. In the past, older generations would have their bourbon by the fire every night, now 21-40 year olds are looking to enjoy the quality that Wild Turkey offers in bars and when they are home, they want the good stuff.  This younger generation of whiskey drinkers is also supporting the growth of Rye whiskies, as they have a taste for the Rye flavour.

Whats the one dram you couldnt live without?
I couldn’t live without Wild Turkey 101, you can’t beat the quality for the price. I love its clean finish and to date it is our best-selling bourbon.

Many thanks to Eddie Russell. Who will be our next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!

17 May 2017

Method and Madness at Midleton

Over the last five years we have well and truly been riding the Irish whiskey renaissance wave, and those waves look set to get even bigger and bolder, with around 20 whiskey distillery's now in production and another dozen in various stages of planning and construction. Not only does Irish whiskey continue to be one of the most exciting categories in the dramming world, it’s also the one experiencing the most growth, and for very good reason.
Embracing the past but very much looking to the future, it’s not just the ever-growing gang of new kids on the block that are now driving the category forward. The big established brands have kicked away those cobwebs of complacency and are now well and truly giving the newbies a run for their money, with regards to innovation and the targeting of a new generation of whiskey consumers.
In addition to its plethora of its heritage driven brands, such as Jameson, Redbreast, Green Spot and Powers, Irish Distillers have well and truly grabbed the reins of innovation at its Midleton Distillery, with the launch of its new experimental Method and Madness series.
Method and Madness, is a celebration the creativity of Midleton’s whiskey masters and its fresh talent of apprentices. Taking inspiration from the famous Shakespearean quote, "Though this be madness, yet there is method in ’t "the series is designed to reflect a next generation Irish spirit brand with a measure of curiosity and intrigue, while honouring the foundation of innovation and experimentation grounded in the generations of expertise at the Midleton Distillery.

Midleton Master Distiller Brian Nation and Apprentice Distiller Karen Cotter
Method and Madness Single Grain
Finished in virgin Spanish oak casks

Nose: Madagascan vanilla pods, sugared almonds, strawberry jam tarts, pencil shavings and poly cement (Airfix) glue.

Palate: Cinnamon and clove infused honey, Butterkist salted caramel popcorn, cherry cough drops and a wisp of something menthol-esque.

Finish: A tenacious and teasing, full throttle thrill of a lingering finish.

Method and Madness Single Malt
Finished in French Limousine Oak casks

Nose: Grilled peaches, McVittie’s digestive biscuits, pink marshmallows and Luxardo maraschino cherries.

Palate: Baked spiced apples, cinnamon infused poached pears, Waitrose treacle tart and toasted oak.

Finish: A fabulously feisty ‘n’ spicy, long linger-ette of a finish.

Method and Madness Single Pot Still
Finished in French Chestnut casks

Nose: Clove infused orange oil, uncooked fruit cake mix, dried mango, red liquorice laces and a glug-ette of soy ginger sauce.
Palate: Fried plantain, tropical fruit trifle, poached pears, green tea, Dentyne cinnamon chewing gum, toasted oak, Turkish delight, retro white candy cigarettes and a good pinch of mixed spice.
Finish: A rich and rewarding finish, that provides the perfect highlights package, to what was delivered so well on both the nose and palate.
In addition to this trio of stunningly sipsational releases, Method and Madness have also launched a limited edition 31 Year Old Single Grain Irish whiskey. We’re yet to sample this one, but when we do you’ll be the first to know.
After sampling the first three bottlings in the series, its abundantly obvious that there’s also some genius amongst the madness at Midleton, and we’re very much look forward to seeing what they have up their sleeves next.


5 May 2017

anCnoc 2002 Vintage Competition

To help celebrate the launch of the new 2002 Vintage release from anCnoc, we’ve teamed up with the multi-award winning Highland single malt whisky brand, to give one of our followers the chance of winning a bottle.

anCnoc 2002 Vintage, which has been matured in hand selected Spanish and American oak casks and matured for over 14 years, joins the family of single malts produced at the Knockdhu distillery in Aberdeenshire.

This latest release, which follows in the footsteps of the highly successful 2001 Vintage, is said to be bright amber in appearance and bursting with aromas of spicy Christmas cake, liquorice and toffee, closely followed by a spiced vanilla aroma and a citrusy finish. On the palate, there is said to be sweetness of chocolate, perfectly contrasted with orange zest and a hint of leather, leaving drinkers with a long warming finish.

To be in with a chance of winning a bottle of anCnoc 2002 Vintage Click Here and email us your contact details along with the phrase that dramming pays:

“I’d be anCnoc, noc, knocking on
heavens dramming door,
if I win this latest, lush,
vivacious vintage”
*Remember to mark the subject line of your email with: anCnoc comp

If you’re on Twitter you can also follow us via @TheWhiskyWire and RT one of our related competition tweets for another chance to win!

anCnoc 2002 Vintage (46% ABV) will be available later this month, from specialist retailers, for a RRP of £65.00.


For more information on anCnoc, visit: ancnoc.com
Competition closes at 23:59 on May 19th 2017. You have to be aged 18 years or over to enter.