Edit: We're gonna wrap things up over here. Thanks to everyone who joined to ask questions and celebrate all things Rye. Cheers everybody.

Comments: 199 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

djbillyfrazier41 karma

Thanks for taking the time to do this, Eddie and Bruce. Lots of Wild Turkey fans around here and we’re grateful for your participation.

How did the idea for Cornerstone Rye come about? What differentiates the new product (in terms of both flavor and specifications) from existing WT ryes like WT 101 rye and Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel rye?

WildTurkeyBourbon37 karma

ER: For the past three decades at Wild Turkey, I personally have distilled and enjoyed rye whiskey, but at the end of the day my heart is always with bourbon. My son Bruce though – he’s the one who made me realize there is this incredible opportunity to experiment with higher aged ryes. Jimmy and me – we’re going to hit the bourbon. But you ask Bruce and he’s going to hit the rye. His appreciation for the spirit pushed me to revisit the distillery’s legacy of producing ryes – so I would say this one has Bruce’s stamp of approval. And, it’s got me excited to release our oldest rye in the history of the distillery.

BR: The idea first came about when I first came on to work at the distillery. We set aside a few barrels of aging rye that we experimented with over the last several years. The barrels are different since they come from a different part of the warehouse than 101 rye. The flavor profile is very different - more sweetness, more barrel characteristics, less grassy flavor that comes with younger ryes.

RareBird10120 karma

Bruce, you’ve talked before about rye mash experimentation. While I’d never want the bourbon recipe to change, I think a second rye recipe - maybe a throwback to the old 101 Maryland or Pennsylvania style - could be amazing. Any chance we’ll this type of venture?

WildTurkeyBourbon20 karma

BR: We're always thinking about doing new experimental things. That is definitely something I'd love to do, those old style ryes were delicious. But again because of the aging process, that'll have to be down the road.

RareBird10118 karma

Eddie, what’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned from Jimmy?

Bruce, what’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned from Eddie?

WildTurkeyBourbon24 karma

ER: For me, most valuable thing I learned from Jimmy is everything. He taught me all that I know about making bourbon and rye.

BR: Two things - first always be yourself and true to yourself. Second, don't be afraid to experiment and make mistakes.

mcadamsandwich6 karma

Also, Eddie, what's the most valuable thing you've learned from Bruce?

WildTurkeyBourbon12 karma

ER: Most valuable thing I've learned from Bruce? That'd be my appreciation of ryes.

couchburner2711 karma

What does Wild Turkey intend to do about future supply issues? I hear that many distilleries are expecting to have trouble with increasing demand in the future, is this true? And as an aside I took a tour at the distillery for my birthday this year and Bubba was a excellent guide and y'all made my birthday very special and one my friends and I will never forget, keep doing what you guys do!

WildTurkeyBourbon13 karma

ER: We got out ahead of most people because we expanded our distillery in 2010, right now we don't see any future issues with our liquid, so buy all you want.

BR: We love Bubba too, he's one of a kind!

RareBird10111 karma

I could be here all day ... First question ...

Which Master’s Keep expressions are NCF besides Decades?

WildTurkeyBourbon13 karma

ER: The only one in the US was the 17yr old which was chill filtered, everything else was NCF. So Decades, Revival, and Cornerstone.

technopyramids10 karma

Is it true that LL-GC Rare Breed contained 15-20 year old barrels?

WildTurkeyBourbon23 karma

ER: Sorry to say that no, nothing that high. Some 13 and 13.5 year old, not quite as high as 15-20. That's just the way rumors go! But just because numbers are high on some releases doesn't mean that's the best quality bourbon that we have.

MentionMyName9 karma

What country do you all source your rye from? And specifically what region? Are there different strains of rye that you have to sample as well?

WildTurkeyBourbon15 karma

ER: We're using number two plump rye, which is a variety which comes from northeast Germany. Before that we did source some from other countries, but the German rye is the best we've seen in a long time.

zzznor9 karma

Have y’all considered a special release for a low entry proof? Similar to Jack Daniels Heritage barrel and reminiscent of yalls previous entry proof and profile?

WildTurkeyBourbon15 karma

ER: Definitely something we've been talking about for down the road. Obviously bourbon has to be aged before it comes out.

BR: This is something I'd love to do as a special release down the line.

SubaruBRATisBack8 karma

Hey Eddie and Bruce! Thank you so much for doing this! Really appreciate this opportunity!

How and why did you choose the barrels for the Cornerstone Rye release?

WildTurkeyBourbon7 karma

ER: Bruce loves rye and wanted to keep some barrels until they got older. As we kept tasting them over the years we realized that we needed to do something special with them. Lots of credit to Bruce for his love of rye. Really just seeing how far we could age it to get the most flavor.

RareBird1018 karma

How often do you buy bourbon off a retail shelf and what do you buy when you do? Is it always Wild Turkey?

WildTurkeyBourbon20 karma

ER: Yah I'm buying Wild Turkey 101 or Russell's Reserve.

BR: I'm buying bourbon retail quite often, and it's usually one of ours. But anything new coming out of Kentucky distilleries I'll at least try to see what's out there. Most juice coming out of Kentucky right now is good stuff.

thinkeeg8 karma

Why are "dusty" bottles so much darker than newer bourbons and taste so different? Is it due to oxidation? Does the long term slight oxidation change color and flavor? Or is that dusty bourbon from the days of much older stocks and tastes different? What are r thoughts on the new obsession with them?

WildTurkeyBourbon8 karma

ER: They usually are older bourbons, and made a little darker. The oxidation would actually make it lighter, so it's probably the juice in the bottle being a bit older.

rybread948 karma

On the subject of dusties; are there any plans to release some older, age stated bottles that have a similar makeup to some of the dusties? Obviously some of the thrill of them is that they are no longer produced, but I’ve had a couple tastes of some mid-80s WT CGF and it’s mind boggling.

WildTurkeyBourbon22 karma

ER: There is some stuff in development that's as close to CGF as we've gotten since that release. The taste is very similar

wesellboxes57 karma

Thank you for the time guys. What is the story behind the Russell's Reserve tree logo?

WildTurkeyBourbon9 karma

ER: It's all about the family tree, it's an oak tree, and oak barrels are obviously a big part of bourbon since they make up the barrels.

FriendlyCraig7 karma

What are a few of your favorite non-whiskey/bourbon/scotch drinks?

WildTurkeyBourbon16 karma

BR: Any sour beer, big fan of tequila and gin cocktails. Mainly anything bitter. Sometimes Campari neat.

Letter106 karma

Hey Eddie, Hey Bruce!Thanks for doing this!

I am very excited to try the Cornerstone Rye and I love the 101 Rye, always have a bottle on the shelf.

I am curious about the Russell's Rye, specifically Single Barrels. I imagine much of the rye stock goes to the aforementioned bottles but occasionally we get a release of single barrel Russells rye and they are magnificent. Some of the best rye I have had, specifically Bruce's Rye barrel that he is glad i enjoyed haha ( ), and the Liquor Barn Russell's Rye #3.

Will we be be seeing more Russell's SiB rye picks in the future? Is this something that could potentially become a staple the way RR store picks have become? I think many drinkers agree that the RR is one of the best bang for your buck bottles that is available on the shelf and we would love the see the rye follow suit.

Also, will there be any Camp Nelson Ryes coming out in the future??

Thank you again for taking time to do this and thanks for everything Turkey!

WildTurkeyBourbon8 karma

ER: Camp Nelson is always in the rotation - the 9yr old barrels in Cornerstone came from there. So yes, look for more in the future.

blueishell6 karma

Before I begin, I am very excited to get my hands on Cornerstone when it arrives in my area.

With what seems like a new rise in craft breweries using bourbon barrels to age their beers, have you guys been able to taste any of the beers that have been aged in Turkey barrels? If so, could you taste the Turkey influences?

WildTurkeyBourbon7 karma

ER: Yes I've tried the Anderson Valley beers that use our barrels, and we can taste the WT profile in there.

BR: Dad doesn't like beer all that much but he did really like the Anderson Valley barrel aged stout.

FJ40jrbraswell6 karma

Any plans to release another batch as good as WB Saffell? Bruce what's your favorite warehouse?

WildTurkeyBourbon12 karma

BR: Warehouse G

ER: Anything that I put out I think is the best! When I work on something I put out the absolute best that I can, so it's all as good as WB Saffell

RareBird1016 karma

I’ve heard Jimmy avoids coffee, save for a day or so a week. Is that true? And if so, am I correct in assuming it’s palate related? Do you two practice the same? And if so, how is life without coffee? I’d imagine that to be quite difficult.

WildTurkeyBourbon7 karma

ER: It's just Jimmy, he drinks bourbon and iced tea. It's nothing to do with his palate. We have a family breakfast every Saturday morning.

BR: He drinks two black cups of coffee every Saturday morning, and that's it! It's just a habit, not to do with his palate.

MountainMan336 karma

Hey Eddie and Bruce! Thanks for doing this AMA.

How is the process for producing and distilling rye different from your Bourbon? Is the fermentation longer/shorter. I've heard rye is difficult to work with and that some distilleries will only produce rye a few weeks out of the year. What are the big differences?

WildTurkeyBourbon5 karma

ER: Ryes are really gooey, sticky grains so the more rye you use, the more you have to clean out. And a lot lower yield because you have less starch in the grain, which yields less alcohol. We actually produce a little bit each month.

FocusingOnDreamz5 karma

Hello thanks for the opportunity to take questions! I am wondering for the layman like myself what those coveted "dusties" are? Do you have a future plan for making more aged ryes with a different mash build? Mister Eddie Russell, when did you realize that you could start making a great rye on top of the great bourbons in your lineup?

WildTurkeyBourbon4 karma

ER: Dusties are bourbons that sat on the shelf years ago when bourbon wasn't going strong like it is today. They didn't sell great in the 70's and 80's but now that people are looking for them, they're hard to find.

Second part - we've always had a great rye with 101 rye, and more recently added in Single Barrel Rye and Russell's Rye, which we aged a bit longer and produced in smaller batches because of how great we realized they taste.

ozarkadventurer5 karma

Can Rye Whiskey ever be as popular as Scotch or Bourbon?

WildTurkeyBourbon11 karma

ER: It'll probably never be as big as bourbon, but in the bartender community it will be as big, just not with all consumers. It has come a long way but don't think it'll ever overtake bourbon since it's such a different type of taste.

MumbosMagic5 karma

Hey Eddie/Bruce, big fan of everything WT! Thanks for doing this.

When it comes to rye, what’s the big differentiator between WT101 Rye and a RR Rye? Is it just different spots in the warehouse, or do you vary up the mash bills at all? My friends are split down the middle on preferring 101 or RR products, and I always wonder what makes them distinguishable for you.

WildTurkeyBourbon7 karma

ER: There's more age on the RR rye. 101 rye is a bit bigger and bolder so it'll stand up in a cocktail more. RR rye is great to just sit and sip on, it's a little smoother. The 101 is more Jimmy's taste profile, and the Russell's Reserve is more my taste profile.

ChiefQuinby5 karma

Do you make a rye that you personally prefer in an old fashioned?

WildTurkeyBourbon6 karma

BR: Yeah, our 101 Rye is made specifically to work well in cocktails and its what I've always used.

ER: I'd definitely say 101 Rye for all cocktails. Has the flavor to stand up to whatever you mix with it.

whoryno1015 karma

Really excited for Cornerstone!!!

1.) If you could do a special release like MK Revival but had to use Rye instead, what other style barrels would be fun to finish in?

2.) Bruce, if you could travel back in time and see one moment in Wild Turkey history involving Jimmy or Eddie what would it be?

WildTurkeyBourbon10 karma

ER: Hmm, don't think I'd finish rye right now because it's so good, but maybe a rum cask to impart some sweetness could be a good option. Down the road I'd consider a rum cask.

BR: Whenever Jimmy started in his 20's. He actually wrote down everything he learned back then, and he gave me the notebook. You can tell from the notebook he was falling in love with the whole process. Would have loved to see that. ER response: Thanks a lot Bruce.

whoryno1014 karma

What has been your favorite (or most interesting) “off-profile” tasting note over the years?

WildTurkeyBourbon10 karma

BR: A private barrel pick a couple years ago that they named Kentucky Berries, a distinct red raspberry profile to it. It was the most unique whiskey I've ever had.

ER: Yeah, it was Warehouse K. It flipped everybody out, it was so different. Those fruity flavors for sure.

whoryno1014 karma

How do you feel about all these stickers that stores and clubs create for their private barrel picks?

WildTurkeyBourbon7 karma

ER: I think its really cool when they do their different stickers, some of my favorites are Jimmy with his gold chain. It's a fun thing to see out there, so I like it.

BR: I would say the same thing. It allows people to put their own individual spin on their private barrels. Its a really neat thing.

NorthernBourbonite4 karma

Firstly, much thanks from the community for answering questions and providing us with a high level of transparency. With that said, does Wild Turkey have any plans for additional cask finished American Whiskeys? I really enjoy the Master’s Keep Revival and am curious if we might see additional offerings in a similar capacity.

WildTurkeyBourbon5 karma

ER: Right now, there's nothing on the board for the next year or 2 but we're always looking to try different things and different casks so we'll definitely look into that.

jturkish4 karma

Just had my first wt and was my fourth ever bourbon I've had. It was ll/gk rare breed. I really enjoyed it, especially for the price. What wt should I try next?

WildTurkeyBourbon10 karma

ER: Look for the Russell's Reserve and Kentucky Spirit private single barrel picks at stores in your area.

Bruce: I'd say WB Saffell - similar age, higher proof. It is however a limited bottling.

ThatFrenchieGuy4 karma

When you are filling barrels, do you have an idea of what barrels will be excellent, or is that something that shows up over time?

WildTurkeyBourbon9 karma

ER: With our one recipe and one yeast we want it to taste the same when barrels are filled. The change happens over time.

BR: Yah it's over time.

thurman11murman4 karma

What do you guys do at Wild Turkey to process and remove stillage from your facilities? How do you get rid of it, and where does it get shipped off to?


WildTurkeyBourbon5 karma

BR: We have our own dry house operation, which takes all of our own stillage, and processes it to be used as animal feed, which we ship off to farmers. Most of the stillage is free, but our wet cakes and distiller's dry grain (DDG) we sell because of the longer process involved in making them.

whoryno1014 karma

Favorite Rye cocktail?

WildTurkeyBourbon11 karma

ER: For me that's a Boulevardier - favorite of any cocktail actually

BR: Honestly just my rye neat or on the rocks. Bourbon I'll drink in cocktails though.

whoryno1013 karma

Favorite WT bourbon/rye food pairing?

WildTurkeyBourbon4 karma

ER: BBQ and bourbon. And chocolate and bourbon is really good.

BR: For bourbon: steak, BBQ, something that's going to stand up to it. With our Rye there's a cinnamon, Christmas spice happening which is great with sweet foods: a pie or cobbler is my favorite.

BirdwatcherCLJ3 karma

Due to the bourbon boom, is it harder to get your hands on white oak barrels? Have logging companies and mills been able to keep up with demand?

WildTurkeyBourbon7 karma

ER: They were sort of caught off guard 5-6 years ago, but now there's plenty of white oak and they've caught back up with demand. Fortunately, we have no problems sourcing our barrels. There's definitely a lot more cooperages now than there ever has been in Kentucky.

whoryno1013 karma

What’s your desert island bottle? Only one choice to drink for the rest of your lifetime ...

WildTurkeyBourbon8 karma

ER: Mine would be Russell's Reserve 10 Year Old.

BR: Mine would be Wild Turkey Christmas Rye.

ER: Well if you're going to go like that, mine would be Cheesy Gold Foil.

jeeaudley3 karma

Thanks for taking the time Eddie and Bruce. Love the product you guys have and are continuing to produce. As for some questions:

(1) What is the story behind the Wild Turkey Cuvee De Lafayette?

(2) Why is the 12 year stock of the 80's/90's so sought after and was there a different maturation or fermentation or housing involved in that distillate?

(3) Really enjoyed the 1998 and 2002 Russells Reserve is these another on planned in the future?

(4) Was the "Christmas" Rye Wild Turkey distillate of possible distilled at another source?

(5) What is your favorite wild turkey "Dusty"?

(6) What is the most underrated Turkey product, new and dusty?

Thanks so much

WildTurkeyBourbon4 karma

ER: (1) Cuvee de Lafayette was something our company produced only for France years ago. It was a French-bottled version of our 12 year old.

(2) No different maturation or fermentation. A lot of people were drinking younger bourbons at that time, not 12 year old. The main thing is, people were so used to 4-5 year old bourbons they didn't experiment with older bourbons until the boom took off.

(3) Yes, I'm always looking to do a very small batch of Russell's but its something that always needs to be very special so we never know when it will come.

BR: (4) We distilled the Christmas Rye ourselves -- it could be some of the first rye that we distilled on our own.

ChuckEye2 karma

Do you have any other mesquites besides Longbranch?

WildTurkeyBourbon7 karma

ER: We don't right now. Longbranch for me, is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Working outside with someone, not me or Jimmy, and the first time we used charcoal for chill filtration. It took us two years and turned out to be a great product.

RareBird1012 karma

Imagine we’re facing another glut era. Distilleries are closing all around you, bottles are collecting dust, social media moves on to the next “it” thing. What’s your survival philosophy? “Change nothing,” like Jimmy? Would that work now? Could that work now?

WildTurkeyBourbon8 karma

ER: Stand your ground, just like Jimmy. Like he says, if it was to come to an end you could be caught with a lot worse things than bourbon.

russmarshalek2 karma

If, in some nightmare scenario, there was no whiskey or bourbon, what would your go-to drink be?

WildTurkeyBourbon5 karma

ER: Probably, tequila.

BR: Aged rum. Maybe Campari neat to be honest.

Maxolotron2 karma

Thank you for the AMA. When will the Cornerstone Rye be available in Germany ( or Europe in general)?

WildTurkeyBourbon4 karma

Sorry it will not be available in Germany but it will be in Global Travel Retail stores, so look for it as you fly around Europe.