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Matthew McConaughey and Eddie Russell Unveil Wild Turkey Longbranch

In New Brand Releases by Patrick "Pops" Garrett14 Comments

Wild Turkey Creative Director McConaughey and Master Distiller Eddie Russell Unveil Small-Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Refined with Texas Mesquite

LAWRENCEBURG, KY (APRIL 10, 2018) –Today, Matthew McConaughey and the legendary Wild Turkey® Distillery are proud to announce the introduction of Wild Turkey Longbranch™, a collaboration between the iconic whiskey brand’s creative director and Master Distiller Eddie Russell. Inspired by McConaughey’s Kentucky and Texas roots, this rare small-batch Kentucky bourbon is refined with Texas Mesquite and oak charcoals – a unique method that deepens the flavor and complexity of the whiskey. This launch marks the first time Wild Turkey has unveiled a product that bears a signature of someone other than the Master Distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russell. A video of the creation of Wild Turkey Longbranch with McConaughey can be found here.

Wild Turkey Longbranch is the latest collaboration to come from the multi-year partnership with the Academy Award® winning actor. McConaughey, who has served as the brand’s creative director since 2016, has worked behind the camera and in front of it in television commercials to reintroduce the world to Wild Turkey, and this new bourbon is a natural evolution of the partnership. The name is inspired by the friends that form the longest branches of our family trees.

The connections that McConaughey and the Russells have to both the great states of Kentucky and Texas were a major inspiration for this collaboration. McConaughey’s parents met at the University of Kentucky, a mere 15 miles from the Wild Turkey Distillery, while Eddie Russell’s youngest son, Bruce, now lives in McConaughey’s hometown of Austin, Texas.

“Longbranch, in its simplest form, is an extended hand, inviting a friend into your family,” McConaughey says. “So the branch that was extended to me from the Russells was a long one, one that reached from Kentucky to Texas and back again. I offered the Mesquite from my great state to add to their legendary Kentucky whiskey and together we made Longbranch.”

To create Longbranch’s signature flavor, McConaughey and Russell spent countless hours sharing notes, then, after two years of testing, perfected a proprietary process that combines two separate charcoal filtration methods to give Longbranch a smooth and full finish. The first filtration process uses charcoal made from American White Oak and the second uses charcoal made from Texas Mesquite wood, giving the bourbon notes of smoky sweetness.

Made with eight-year-old Wild Turkey Bourbon, Wild Turkey Longbranch is an exceptional bourbon with a bright gold color and aroma that is a balanced blend of vanilla and spices. Flavors of caramel, pear, and hints of citrus round out the palate. The subtle, smoky finish is buttery smooth, with notes of gentle pepper and toasted oak.  “When we were creating Wild Turkey Longbranch, we talked at length about how to make a product that represents elements of both Texas and Kentucky,” said Wild Turkey Master Distiller Eddie Russell. “Our goal was to make a straight bourbon whiskey with a soft sweetness that was still unmistakably Wild Turkey. The result was a bourbon that we both truly enjoy drinking neat, and look forward to sharing with others.”

“Matthew McConaughey has been ingrained in the Wild Turkey brand as creative director for several years now,” said Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO at Campari Group, owner of Wild Turkey. “As a lover of bourbon, and an integral part of the team, it was a natural next step for Matthew to partner with Eddie to create a new product for Wild Turkey. We are proud of the work they’ve done and have great expectations for this amazing new whiskey.”

Wild Turkey Longbranch will be available on shelves across the US in May for a suggested retail price of $39.99 and will roll-out to additional markets around the world later this year.

What do you think of this new release?

Let us know if the comments below what you think of this new release from Wild Turkey. As soon as we get a sample we’ll bring you our thoughts and detailed tasting notes.


Patrick Garrett, "Pops" as he's known to his friends, is the founder of Bourbon & Banter, LLC and claims the title of Chief Drinking Officer (CDO). A long-time marketing professional and photographer, Pops hopes to use his professional experience and love of Bourbon to spread the Bourbon Gospel and help everyone realize the therapeutic power of having a good drink with friends. Read Patrick's full profile.

About the Author

Patrick "Pops" Garrett

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Patrick Garrett, "Pops" as he's known to his friends, is the founder of Bourbon & Banter, LLC and claims the title of Chief Drinking Officer (CDO). A long-time marketing professional and photographer, Pops hopes to use his professional experience and love of Bourbon to spread the Bourbon Gospel and help everyone realize the therapeutic power of having a good drink with friends. Read Patrick's full profile.

  • Lanny DeVaney says:

    How is this bourbon? Isn’t this more akin to a Tennessee whiskey? I thought charcoal filtering nullified the bourbon label?

    • Actually, the charcoal filtering does not nullify the bourbon label. The filtering is not technically adding anything to the whiskey which allows it to remain classified as a bourbon. Now, if you filter in this way and distill it within TN it will probably be eligible to be called TN whiskey if you’d like.

  • Michael Marks says:

    I think it’s a great idea. I enjoy all the Wild Turkey Bourbons (not the flavored whiskies)
    and feel certain this one will also make my list of favorites.

  • Gary Bennett says:

    As a lover of cask-strength bourbon (especially WT Rare Breed), I will be looking to try this…any indication of the proof?

  • Andy says:

    Let’s look at the math. Eight year old bourbon. McCaughey has been with the company for two years. Charcoal filter is typically done with new make spirit before it is aged in the barrel picking up all those wonderful flavors and aromas. So this product must have been filtered after/during aging. It seems to me the filtration would remove some of the good stuff that took years to develop. Meanwhile the filtration process is relatively quick, so it doesn’t seem like it could add as much as it striped. I’ll give them credit for being unique, but I wonder if the product will not be what us whiskey geeks expect from a Wild Turkey product.

  • Galileo says:

    It will be interesting to find out if Wild Turkey have created a sub-100 proof bourbon that’s a winner. So far, all their better stuff has been 101 or higher.

  • Chuck - Another Dram Society, NJ says:

    I’m sure it will be drinkable like almost every other WT offering but let’s be real here, it’s more about the marketing than anything else. (The geography of parents and kids is BS.) You don’t hire a guy who has no history in distilling to be “creative director” unless you’re trading on his name, just like Mercury did. And I have no problem with that but lets tell it like it is. The American whiskey producers are in a race to roll out more SKUs to feed their revenue because it’s more about the bottom line now. It’s slowly becoming less and less about the true creative side, the distilling, aging and that special knowledge gained over years of practice, and more about how they can create buzz about something “new and different”. Sorry to be a downer but after almost 40 years of drinking whiskies, almost all bourbon, I’ve grown fond of the old days when you could pay a very reasonable price and get a very good product. Now I have to pay double and sometimes triple that to get what is supposed to be a spectacular product . . . and it often isn’t (IMO). Special releases, one-time releases and limited editions (that suddenly appear a second time a year or so later) and even unknown “craft distillers” are introducing bottles at $75 and up have dragged the price of everything else up right along with it. That’s unfortunate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still am–and will always be–faithful to my favorite American spirit and all the ways to enjoy it. I just don’t start frothing at the mouth like so many others do as soon as a “new” offering is presented or an unrelated media star starts hawking their bottle. The real stars are the farmers, the distillery workers, the master blenders and the one-of-kind charred oak barrels. They are what makes it so unique and so damn good!! I’ve been collecting for my retirement cellar for years. Every bottle I bought I will enjoy myself or with friends. But I no longer favor many of the new releases but rather add depth my inventory of those I know and trust. Cheers to America’s native spirit! #sipitdontflipit

    • Chuck, thanks for adding your thoughts. I’m not sure a time ever existed where it wasn’t about the money. I don’t mean to be cynical but businesses exist to make money. Distilling is no different -, especially for the last 120+ years. And while I agree that adding a celebrity – no matter the story – is always an appeal to the masses. And it’s something that’s happened within whiskey for decades. Check this out from 1952: https://www.bourbonbanter.com/banter/joe-louis-whiskey-circa-1952/#.WtXjyNPwZR4

      The recent bourbon boom has just amplified the pace and scale of things when it comes to marketing and SKU development. For every long-time whiskey drinker, there are 100 consumers who would be considered “new” to the category and those are the folks that the brands want to attract. Therefore, the marketing is more and more geared to those folks.Those of us who have been enjoying bourbon for years aren’t going anywhere. We know. They know it.

      Ultimately that means we have to sit and watch all of this happen and adjust to the price increase. But there’s a silver lining Chuck. A big one in my opinion. Bourbon production is way up. Lots of great juice being put away to age and become amazing in the future. When the boom slows down, and it will at some point in the future, there will be a lot of great whiskeys that brands want to sell. We will be here, just like always, happy to take it off their hands. And, for those that are a more inclined to explore the category, craft distillers are giving us a unique opportunity to explore what bourbon and whiskey can be when done differently. I know, not all craft whiskey is ready for us, but those that have mastered their craft and releasing things that are perfect for the whiskey geek looking to drink curious.

      We appreciate you chiming in and sharing your thoughts. Thanks for being a fan of Bourbon & Banter and if we ever cross paths I hope we’ll get to share a drink. Cheers!

      • Chuck - Another Dram Society, NJ says:

        “Pops” . . . from your lips to the Bourbon Gods’ ears! I look forward to that drink someday.

  • Riello says:

    Hmmm… I’m not sure about this one, but I’ll give any Turkey a try once.
    I respect McConaughey for coming up with his own product line as an ambassador for the company, if that’s what this is.

  • Paul Speicher says:

    I am 58 years young to the “Bourbon Experience”. After trying many of the baseline whiskey trial portions, Wild Turkey was the winner (on my palate): (Level 1, Turkey 101).
    The first “Fifth” I bought (for myselft) was the “Wild Turkey Longbranch”. This is an extremely satisfying taste sensation for me. Kentucky and Texas got it “going on! I appreciate the approach. Eliminating the whiskey “Top Note” allows me to taste (and appreciate) the elements of the oak, hickory and the “bite or heat” of mesquite on the tongue.
    I remember buying : Wild Turkey: Rare Breed for my father as a “gift” in 2007. He enjoyed it very much. He passed in 2010. I guess now, I have earned the right to try those things that I avoided. I very much look forward to trying the “Russell Reserve” and “Rare Breed”. Wish me luck as I proceed through my education of the “Bourbon Experience”. Wild Turkey Forever!
    Thank you,
    Paul Speicher

    • Paul, thanks for commenting and sharing your bourbon journey with everyone. Wild Turkey is one of our favorite brands and we feel it’s overlooked by way too many that are new to bourbon. It’s a real gem. While Longbranch was a bit light for me personally, I put Russell’s Reserve (single barrel) at the top of my list and in fact, it was the first single barrel private pick that Bourbon & Banter did a few years ago. You’re going to have a lot of fun exploring things. Add water or ice as needed because at the end of the day, you should be drinking it like YOU like it. Cheers! – Pops

  • Gary Bennett says:

    Paul- you are headed down a tasty path; my “go to” barrel strength is WT Rare Breed. Word-to-the-Wild Wise”: a bit of water (mine through slow-melting ice ball) brings out the true character of this elixer!