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Around the same time Jim and Randy were getting the podcast off the ground and releasing their first episodes Jim and I met each other at The Barrel Room in Shelbyville Kentucky. We chatted about bourbon, his podcast and by midsummer I was a guest on the show. By summers end with Randy moving to the mountains to enjoy retirement Jim asked if I would like to be a his new co-host. Over the past 2 years we have grown this tiny veteran owned and operated podcast into something special. We added reviews in June of 2020 and have grown our Facebook group, The Bourbon Roadies into a whiskey family of 22OO likeminded folks.
Now it’s no secret what Jim and I like to drink, buy maybe some of you don’t know. Jim loves his Wild Turkey 101 and I the #wheatedkingofkentucky loves Weller Special Reserve. Both of us often go back to these bottles as they are our bench mark for all other bourbon. Combining our knowledge of both rye and wheated bourbon we hope that we can bring a better product to our fans. Both of our brands have a storied past. Wild Turkey with its legendary Master Distiller Jimmy Russel for almost 70 years and Weller who was the original source for all other wheated bourbons.
The “Wild Turkey” brand is said to have arisen after an Austin Nichols executive, Thomas McCarthy, took some warehouse samples on a wild turkey hunting trip in 1940. The bourbon proved so popular among his friends they continued to ask him for “that wild turkey bourbon.” Austin Nichols began to bottle Wild Turkey in 1942. The Ripys were bought out in 1949 by Robert and Alvin Gould. For the next three decades, Austin Nichols remained a non-distiller producer—bottling bourbon purchased on the open market under the Wild Turkey brand. Much of this whiskey was purchased from the Ripys/Gould distillery in Tyrone. In 1971, Austin Nichols purchased the facility, then known as the Boulevard Distillery, and changed the name to the Wild Turkey Distillery.
The Original Wheated Bourbon Whiskey features an exceptionally smooth taste, substituting wheat for rye grain. Bottled at 90 proof, this bourbon stands out with its burnt orange color. Its softer flavor notes make this bourbon great for sipping or making cocktails. Upon his return to Kentucky following the Civil War, W.L. Weller joined the family business and began working at his grandfather’s distillery. Weller had a sharp palate and a keen sense for business and in 1849, he introduced the first bourbon ever that used wheat as its secondary grain instead of rye. Wheated bourbons (including Pappy Van Winkle and Larceny Bourbon, which eventually imitated W.L. Weller’s mashbill) have a softer and more gentle flavor profile as compared to bourbons that use rye as their secondary grain, and have a slightly sweeter taste. Weller’s bourbon was incredibly popular in antebellum America and ultimately forced him to place a green thumbprint on his invoices and barrels as a certificate of authenticity.
So there you go, the start of our podcast and a little history on our two favorite brands. Grab a bottle of either, a glass and listen to our latest episode where Jim and I travel back down The Bourbon Road to introduce ourselves to new listeners. Cheers
Mike (Big Chief)