Introducing The Whiskey Barons Collection

The Whiskey Barons Collection is an ambitious undertaking to honor and recreate historically significant Bourbons that were lost after Prohibition.

The Whiskey Barons Collection Header

Just a few hours ago we received a press release from Campari America introducing their new Whiskey Barons Collection. We’ll be gathering more information to share, along with our own tasting notes, but for now, we’re sharing everything that Campari sent to us as part of their announcement.

Below are the full product releases along with bottle photos to give you an idea of what to expect when these initial two bourbons start shipping to the initial release markets on February 1st. We also want to point out that according to Campari, “…this is not a Wild Turkey product. It is being distilled at the Wild Turkey Distillery, but Jimmy and Eddie haven’t been involved.”

That’s all we know for now so read on and let us know if there’s anything specific you’d like us to question Campari about in regards to these new releases.

UPDATE: We now have reviews of both products on the blog. Check them out here: Old Ripy Bourbon Review  | Bond & Lillard Bourbon Review.

UPDATE 2/1/17: We were curious about Jimmy and Eddie’s lack of involvement in these releases, so we asked Campari for some additional information. It looks like the future releases will have Eddie involved. We look forward to seeing what he brings to the collection.

“To bring back to life the Old Ripy and Bond & Lillard blends for the Whiskey Barons collection, Campari America conferred with T.B. Ripy IV and Tom Ripy, great-grandson and great-great-grandson of T.B. Ripy, and employed the talents of Norm Matella, Ph. D. and Campari America North American Technical Center Manager, and Robin Coupar, Campari America Global Whiskies Brand Ambassador. Together they analyzed historical documents, dipped into family archives and experimented with different blends to achieve a final product as close to the original whiskies as possible. The liquid was distilled at the Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY, which sits upon the same spot where the Ripy distillery once stood. Wild Turkey Master Distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russell were not involved with the creation of Old Ripy and Bond & Lillard, as they were fully committed with projects for Wild Turkey and Russell’s Reserve. However, moving forward, Eddie Russell will be pouring his passion and expertise into the development of future Whiskey Barons products while continuing in his award-winning role as Master Distiller and key product innovator for Wild Turkey and Russell’s Reserve.”

UPDATE 1/25/17: We received quite a few comments from folks curious if there would be any legal issues regarding the similarities in name between Old Ripy and Old Rip Van Winkle so we were able to get Campari to provide us with their take on the situation.

“The Old Ripy trademark was registered and active from 1941 to 2002.   As bourbon is a key focus for the company,  Campari America revived this great old trademark in order to recreate Old Ripy for its new Whiskey Barons collection and pay proper homage to this historic distilling family – some of whom worked at the Wild Turkey distillery until just recently. A search of the US Patent and Trademark database shows Old Rip Van Winkle was registered as a trademark decades later, in 1968. There were no matters of concern around confusing the names then, nor are there concerns today.  We are very excited to re-introduce folks to this long gone, but never forgotten bourbon.”

The Whiskey Barons Collection is an ambitious undertaking to honor and recreate historically significant Bourbons that were lost after Prohibition. Our mission is to resurrect these remarkable spirits so current and future generations of whiskey lovers can taste history while giving back to the Kentucky community that sparked so much Bourbon lore. Though most of the original recipes and distilling techniques have been lost to the ravages of time, we are painstakingly piecing together these lost gems with the help of living members of these noble distilling families, historic records, tasting notes, and talented distillers. In doing so, we hope to create a living archive of Kentucky’s great whiskey history, giving these Bourbons and the people who made them a chance to live again. In 2017, Campari America will release two new expressions under The Whiskey Barons Collection umbrella – Bond & Lillard and Old Ripy. A portion of the profits from each bottle of Bond & Lillard and Old Ripy sold will be donated towards the restoration of The Ripy Home in Anderson County, Kentucky.


Bond & Lillard was a trusted name in the pre-Prohibition whiskey industry. It was first distilled by John Bond in what was then called, Cedar Run, KY (now known as Anderson County), in 1820. A veteran of the American Revolutionary War, Bond moved his distilling operation closer to Lawrenceburg, KY after the war. In 1842, he left the company to his son and grandson, David and William. William would go on to form a partnership with his brother-in-law, C.C. Lillard in 1869, and they began labeling the product Bond & Lillard. The business stayed in their families until 1899 and was so revered that it won the Grand Prize at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Using the same tasting notes the judges wrote down during the World’s Fair in 1904, we recreated this winning recipe.

Distilled and bottled and at the Wild Turkey distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY, this Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is aged a minimum of seven years in timber warehouses and is charcoal filtered. This filtration process simulates the aeration process that happens in the barrel, converting more aggressive congeners to esters that end in more elegant top notes. The result is a lighter colored and flavored bourbon with more floral notes. As the judges at the 1904 World’s Fair declared, this recipe represents “real delicacy of flavor, beauty in the sparkle and superiority in strength – it bears no equal”.


Nose: Creamy vanilla, citrus and stone fruit

Tasting Notes: Fruity and delicate with dry peach and apricot and hints of baking spice

Finish: Slight dryness with lingering fruits and spice

Color: Bright gold

Mash Bill: Corn, malted barley, and rye grains; sourced from the Wild Turkey Distillery

Proof: 50% alc./vol. (100 proof)

Price: Suggested retail price for 375mL: $49.99

Availability: Wild Turkey Visitor Center and in select markets, including California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York City, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.


Born in Bourbon’s heartland in 1868, Old Ripy was created by Irish immigrant James Ripy and continued to be made in Lawrenceburg, KY, on the site of where the current Wild Turkey Distillery stands today, up until 1950. Back then, the Ripy family was ubiquitous in Anderson County’s bustling distilling community. They had opened several distilleries in the area, which remained in the family for generations. T.B. Ripy IV and Tom Ripy, the great grandson and great great grandson of T.B. Ripy, advised throughout the project on packaging and liquid development – calling upon original bottlings, brochures, and family stories to help us recreate what we can honestly say is the closest representation of the original Old Ripy brand possible.

Old Ripy is a combination of 8-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon with 12-year-old and younger whiskies for added complexity and oak. It is distilled at the Wild Turkey Distillery in Anderson County, aged in timber warehouses and non-chill filtered to retain congeners, fusil oils, lipid fats and proteins we believe you would find in the original. This results in more natural and complex flavor characteristics, fuller body, and a smooth but “chewier” mouthfeel.


Nose: Oak and vanilla with fruits and a hint of banana

Tasting Notes: Big mouth feel of chewy toffee, apple and oak notes

Finish: Oaky tannin gives way to pepper spice and sweet caramel

Color: Deep amber

Mash Bill: Corn, malted barley and rye grains

Proof: 52% alc./vol. (104 proof)

Price: Suggested retail price for 375mL: $49.99

Availability: Wild Turkey Visitor Center and in select markets, including California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York City, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.