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SouthBound: Jimmy Russell, The Buddha Of Bourbon, On A Life In Brown Liquor

Courtesy of Wild Turkey

The South is responsible for the three greatest beverages in human history: sweet tea, Coca-Cola, and most of all, bourbon. And nobody alive has been involved with more bourbon than a man named Jimmy Russell.

Credit Jimmy Russell
Jimmy Russell

Jimmy has worked at the Wild Turkey distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, for 64 years. He holds the official title of "master distiller," and the unofficial title of the "Buddha of Bourbon." A rival distiller told me one time that Jimmy Russell can tell you more about bourbon with one nostril than most people can with their whole bodies. I reached Jimmy at his office in Kentucky. His work day had started early, with a taste of ... you know what.

Let's keep the conversation going. Send a tweet to @tommytomlinson or @wfae, and use the hashtag #WFAESouthBound. You can also email me at ttomlinson@wfae.org.

Show Notes:

Other music in this episode:

  • Joscho Stephan and Gonzalo Bergara, "Coquette"
  • Blue Dot Sessions, "Low Coal Camper" and "Liquor Files -- Hickory"

Where to Listen:

New episodes of SouthBound will come out every other week on Wednesday. Subscribe:
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SouthBound is a production of WFAE. Our host is Tommy Tomlinson. Our producer is Nick de la Canal. Our web manager is Jennifer Lang. Our audience engagement producer is Joni Deutsch, and our theme music comes from Josh Turner.