Within every group, there are a small percentage of people who ruin it for everybody else in the group. A few ne’er-do-wells give the group as a whole a bad name. Heisman Trophy winners have OJ. Olympic Figure Skaters have Tonya Harding. Child actors have…well, child actors have a lot of cute-kid-turned-degenerate ruining it for them (Dana Plato, Lindsay Lohan, Corey Haim, Screech (I never remember his real name), Macauly Culkin). Something really goes off the trail for child actors when they go from being an Eagle Rare to being a Pappy 23.
Bourbon enthusiasts deal with the same issues. A few guys give the rest of us a bad rep. You know the ones: They leave chairs in line at bottle releases and disappear for hours. They rant about people leaving chairs in line at bottle releases then disappearing for hours. They insult people who don’t like what the “sophisticated” bourbon drinker likes. They get in virtual fist fights over whether Jack Daniels is a bourbon or not. They tick off your liquor store managers by constantly asking if they have any Pappy, then get mad when they don’t get Pappy even though they’ve never bought a thing in the store before. These are the people that give bourbon lovers a bad name.
Most of the people we know in the bourbon community are good people, however. They are the Tim Tebows, Dorothy Hamills and Ron Howards of bourbon. So from time to time in this blog I’ll highlight one of the good guys (or gals) that help give bourbon a good name.
That Wild Turkey Guy
David Jennings loves Wild Turkey. I don’t know if David has kids, but if he does I expect they are named “Jimmy” and “Russell” (whether they be boys or girls). What I do know is that David is a self-proclaimed “Wild Turkey super fan” and has amassed a great deal of knowledge about the history of the distillery, its products and its people.
David is better known in bourbon circles as “that Wild Turkey guy” (a moniker I’m sure he wears with pride). Unless your last name is “Russell”, he is the go-to resource when it comes to anything Wild Turkey. Much of his insights can be found at his website (www.rarebird101.com) and he can be followed on twitter (@RBird101) and instagram (@rarebird101).
What I’ve found in David is someone who is very generous with his time and knowledge. When I ask him questions about Wild Turkey he could very easily just tell me to search his website (because the answer surely lies there if it is anywhere) but he always responds with thorough answers and sends me links to appropriate posts from his site). Even though I don’t know him personally, he has also been a big encouragement to me in launching The Bourbon Fellowship blog.
David’s latest endeavor is to publish a book on (you guessed it) Wild Turkey. A goal David has for the book is to have a completed copy of it in Jimmy Russell’s hands by September 10. That day will mark Jimmy’s 65th anniversary at Wild Turkey. This would be a fitting way to honor Jimmy as he means so much to bourbon enthusiasts everywhere. Jimmy is bourbon’s rock star. He is Bourbon Elvis. (Now I’m picturing Jimmy Russell in a white jump suit. I’ve cracked myself up).
There is a lot of work to do to get this project completed before September 10 and David is using Kickstarter to raise funds to get that work done as he will self publish the book. You can see more information on that campaign on his website here or you can go directly to the Kickstarter page here. You can hear David describe the project in his own words in a recent episode of the Bourbon Pursuit podcast (this is one of my favorite episodes in awhile, by the way). If you can help in any way (even just spreading the word) I am sure David would appreciate it.
I would encourage you to follow David on twitter and instagram and subscribe to his blog. You can learn a lot from him and I know he would love to hear from you. He really is one of bourbon’s good guys.Kevin Rose