Getting up early on the weekend is tough. But it’s a bit easier when you’re about to go skeet shooting with father and son Wild Turkey Master Distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russell. I’ll tell you right now that I had to break up this tour into two posts as we ended up doing so much (oh darn) that it couldn’t fit into one pretty little package. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Arriving right on time at 9:30 am, we gathered in the new visitor center where we split into various groups – some going to the barrel rolling and others, like me, going to skeet shooting. Golf carts took us to a picturesque spot between some warehouses where we divided into “yes, I’ve shot before” and “I’ve never touched a gun ever” aka my group.
It took me a while to get the hang of it (hello, close your left eye, Kerri), but after a couple of missed shots, I hit the last few and took home a broken piece of clay as my winning prize. As well as the satisfaction that I succeeded.
˄ Master Distiller Eddie Russell
˄ Eddie’s father, Master Distiller Jimmy Russell
After skeet shooting, we made our way to a warehouse where we were able to watch barrels being lifted and rolled to the fifth floor, where they will remain for the next, oh 6-8 years. These barrels start out weighing approximately 550 pounds of pure goodness. After they age, they will lose a lot to evaporation – especially the higher you get in the building. I rolled a barrel a little bit down the lane and let me tell you, those things are tricky little suckers. Not as easy as they make it look.
Part two: some taste testing and the barrel graveyard…