Kentucky Bourbon Trail Sets Record In 2014

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Visiting all the major distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail gets you a t-shirt, but because the record-setting program is growing — and adding distilleries — the reward program might be up-sized too.

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association, which oversees the trail program and a companion tourism effort for craft distilleries, announced Thursday that its 18 participating distilleries saw a record 723,503 visits in 2014.

“The monumental growth of our Kentucky Bourbon Trail experiences is proof that they’re the hottest tourism attractions around,” association President Eric Gregory said in a statement.

The association created the trail program in 1999, followed by a passport program in 2007 where people who have their books stamped at each stop get a free shirt. That program now has nine distilleries. The visitors who finish the nine-stop craft distillery trail — which extends from Marshall County in far Western Kentucky to Mason County in northeastern Kentucky — get a silver julep cup. Full article here.


Firebomb Whiskey Spice

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Drink: Firebomb Cinnamon Whiskey Spice lets you create a cinnamon flavored whiskey at home using corn whiskey. Just combine the spice kit with 2 cans frozen apple juice concentrate and 7 cups of 80 proof whiskey, let stand 12-24 hours, strain and enjoy. You will want to keep the mixture refrigerated. You don’t have to be limited to using only whiskey either, with this product you can also flavor vodka. Get some here.


Whiskey Bullets

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Gear: Whiskey Bullets are stainless steel and can be used to cool your favorite whiskey. They are a great way to chill your drink without diluting it. Whiskey bullets are heavy enough to stay at the bottom of your glass, easy to clean, and are rounded to prevent scratching. They also add a unique look to an already rugged drink. Get some here.


Eddie Russell Receives Master Distiller Title

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Being the Master Distiller at Wild Turkey is the best job imaginable. I should know because I’ve been driving my truck to work along the same route for the last 60 years and I’m not tired of it yet. I can remember when my youngest son Eddie first told me, decades ago, he wanted to follow in my footsteps and learn to be a Distiller. Around these parts in Kentucky, Bourbon is a family business. So, naturally, I was thrilled to take him under my wing and show him a thing or two. But, I also knew the only way he was going to develop the discipline and the know-how needed to become a Master Distiller was if he had to work his way up from the bottom like I did.

My youngest son Eddie started working at Wild Turkey on June 5, 1981, and over time I taught him everything he knows, we’ve crafted several Bourbons together and he even created an exceptional whiskey to honor my 60th anniversary called Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary.  Now it’s my turn to do the honoring. It is with great pride that I announce today that Eddie Russell has been promoted to Wild Turkey Master Distiller. After 34 years, I think he’s finally earned it, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go any easier on him – or that I’m going anywhere anytime soon.  Eddie and I will work side by side as the industry’s only father/son Master Distillers.

When Eddie began working at the distillery, I made him do every job there was, even cutting the grass, so the other employees wouldn’t think I was showing him favoritism. I was probably a lot harder on him than I needed to be, but it was all to help him get to this very special moment today.

Back in the 1950’s, when I first started making Bourbon, it was a Southern gentleman’s drink. Today, it’s the drink of a younger generation who like to have their Bourbon in cocktails like the Old Fashioned or the Manhattan. Eddie is very passionate about creating new products that appeal to folks around my grandkids age. To be honest, I like to say he’s a bit of a Bourbon maverick.

This year, Eddie’s first creation in his new role as Master Distiller will be released, and I think it’s one of the finest Bourbons I’ve ever tasted. Together, we’ve also created a new Russell’s Reserve expression that will be available later in 2015.

Eddie will also be out on the road a lot more, sharing travel duties with me to act as an ambassador for Bourbon around the world. He’ll be making stops in countries, such as Australia, Japan, Brazil and United Kingdom, where there’s a growing thirst for American whiskey. And, of course, you’ll be seeing him at the annual WhiskeyFests, Tales of the Cocktail, Portland Cocktail Week and in other major U.S. cities spreading the gospel of Wild Turkey.

We always welcome our friends to visit us at our distillery in Lawrenceburg, so consider this your personal invitation. Our new Visitor Center is a showstopper, and a great place to share some Wild Turkey with Eddie and me. As a matter of fact, the Wild Turkey Visitor Center just received the architecture industry’s highest achievement – the 2015 American Institute of Architects Honor Award in Architecture. The building has been dubbed a “Cathedral to Bourbon,” and I couldn’t agree more. Full article here.


Brunswick Stew Recipe

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With all the snow and cold weather this week we’ve been looking for ways to stay warm and what better way than a Hearty Brunswick Stew. Our recipe calls for a fair amount of bourbon which as a unique taste and added warmth. Enjoy!

1/2 pound butter

3 cups (2 large) diced sweet onions

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon salt

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup bbq sauce

1 pound pulled pork

1/2 pound diced chicken

1/2 pound ground turkey

1/2 pound ground beef

1  can fire roasted tomatoes

2 cans drained green beans

3 oz. bourbon

1 quart or more quality chicken stock or broth

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onions and saute until the onions are translucent, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes then add bbq sauce. Stir in the pulled pork, chicken, turkey, and beef. Add the fire roasted tomatoes and green beans. Stir in the chicken stock and let simmer for a couple hours over low heat. Enjoy! This recipe is also one that can be made in a crock pot.

Pair it with bourbon and cornbread for additional enjoyment.


Woodford Reserve Reveals Rye Whiskey

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LOUISVILLE, Ky., Jan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Woodford Reserve today announces the release of its latest permanent product extension, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, which will be available for purchase in select markets throughout the country beginning in February. The latest release showcases the company’s ongoing commitment to both whiskey lovers and innovation within the industry.

Woodford Reserve Rye is the third permanent line extension to join the portfolio, which includes the original Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select and Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. When it comes to the craft of bourbon and whiskey, Woodford Reserve prides itself on maintaining an original and contemporary approach that focuses primarily on the adjustment of one of the five sources of flavor. To complement and emphasize the spice characteristics found in the original Woodford Reserve, the Rye uses a base that’s 53 percent rye, resulting in a liquid that’s both more balanced, and refreshingly subtle.

Since 2006, Master Distiller Chris Morris has been hard at work crafting a rye that’s worthy of the Woodford Reserve name. Because of the consistency of the mash, rye is notoriously more difficult to craft than a traditional bourbon, requiring more attention to detail throughout production, leaving the bulk of production to only the most experienced Master Distillers.

“One of the primary reasons behind Woodford’s growth into the number one selling ultra-premium[i] bourbon in America is because of our commitment to flavor, and that’s something that’s engrained in everything we do,” said Morris. “Not only does it affect how I approach bourbon production personally, it’s the lens through which we view the future of Woodford Reserve, and I couldn’t think of a liquid that better embodies that than the rye.”

“As a brand, one of the things we’re most proud of is the passion and commitment that our fans have, both for Woodford Reserve, whiskey and bourbon in general. For us, releasing a rye is a chance to give back to these consumers,” said Woodford Reserve Brand Director Jason Kempf. “Time and time again, we kept hearing requests for a rye. Woodford Reserve has always maintained a commitment to the spirit of innovation, and the rye is no exception. We’re excited to give our fans something they’ve been so vocal about for so many years, and that is finally ready to share with them.” Full article here.



High West Bourye Whiskey

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Drinks: Bourye is combination of bourbon and rye which is an unusual mixing just like the jackalope, a cross between a jack rabbit and antelope. Bourye combines old and rich bourbon (9 years old) and rye (10 and 16 years old) whiskeys for an exceptionally smooth easy sipping whiskey. With flavors of coconut, caramel, vanilla, and sweet corn, this is surely an enjoyable whiskey.


Journeyman Silver Cross Whiskey

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Drinks: Journeyman Silver Cross Whiskey was inspired by Scotland and the love of the game of golf. The Silver Cross was given as a medal in the early days of the British Open and was a symbol of friendship and tradition. Crafted with equal parts Rye, Wheat, Corn, and Barley, the Silver Cross Whiskey is truly a medley of unique flavors. Lovers of all whiskey will appreciate this fine Michigan crafted spirit. A true tribute to a great game, this whiskey is sure to impress. More info here.