An Exclusive peek at American spirit
Bourbon lovers rejoice! David Jennings has finally given us the book that we’ve been waiting for… American Spirit: Wild Turkey Bourbon-- From Ripy to Russell. If by chance you’re not familiar with the name David Jennings, you’re more likely to know him as Wild Turkey super-fan RareBird101. There isn’t a person on Earth without the name Russell who knows more about Wild Turkey bourbon. Jennings finally decided to take his personal passion for the iconic brand and put it into an extremely well-researched book.
American Spirit does an excellent job of detailing the progression of Austin, Nichols, & Co from a wholesale grocery store dealing mainly in coffee and tea through the point of becoming mainly associated with Wild Turkey bourbon. Jennings gives a good accounting of the history of the various distillery names and distillers that are associated with Wild Turkey and Lawrenceburg, KY. If you’re interested in the relatively recent Whiskey Barons limited release series, Jennings gives you the rundown on exactly who the men were who are on the Whiskey Barons bottles.
As you might expect, Jennings goes into a lot of detail regarding the Russell family. Jennings gives a good history of the progression and roles of Jimmy Russell from the day he arrived at the distillery in 1954 through current. Russell is given attention as a bourbon icon and a look at who he is as a man outside of the bourbon world. Eddie Russell and other members of the family are also detailed in relation to the bourbon industry.
In a day and age where many people use Google to find reviews and information about whiskey bottles, David Jennings provides the definitive source of information on any release of Wild Turkey you’ll encounter, both domestic and foreign releases. Jennings provides information about the production of each Wild Turkey release and his person tasting and nosing notes. If you’re curious about common or obscure releases, Jennings has the info you want.
There are a couple of unique features to this book that you won’t find in other brand-specific history books. Jennings discusses popular Wild Turkey myths such as:
Myth #1: Wild Turkey is a whiskey for roughneck men, rock stars, and frat boys.
Myth #2: The only good Wild Turkey is a dusty Turkey where the turkey is looking at you.
Another unique section of the book is where Jennings recommends a specific Wild Turkey expression for those who are accustomed to drinking specific other brands. If you are used to Basil Hayden, which Turkey product is right for you? What if you’re an Elijah Craig drinker? Which Turkey should you consider? You won’t find this type of discussion in any other brand-specific history book.
Jennings’ book is first being released in ebook format due to complications from COVID 19, but will also be released in print form as well. It’s a fantastic book that you’ll be happy to read. I was able to read the book in one morning without losing interest. Jennings writes in an interesting and factual manner that will keep you going strong until you realize the book is done. The bourbon community has not been blessed with many brand-specific history books, so this book is a blessing that celebrates an iconic American whiskey brand.