Oak and Ivy at the Downtown Container Park in Downtown Las Vegas has generated quite a following due to its very extensive bourbon and whiskey list, which numbers 104 labels and is reputed to be the largest selection of American whiskey in Southern Nevada. Now there’s yet another reason to visit this whiskey magnet: its monthly Tasting on the Terrace spirit tastings, held outdoors on the shipping container bar’s canopy-covered rooftop. 

I attended the tasting on Sept. 6, which featured Wild Turkey Master Distiller and Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame member Eddie Russell, who for the past 36 years has worked with the company his father, Jimmy Russell, founded in 1954. Not only was he an outstanding speaker, but Eddie walked us through six different expressions including Wild Turkey 101, Rare Breed, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye, Russell’s Reserve 6-year Small Batch Rye, Russell’s Reserve 10-year and Wild Turkey Decades. He related that he started tasting bourbon when he was six years old and spoke about his friendship with fellow bourbon maker Freddie Noe (Booker’s son) who he said, “has been my best friend since we were very little.” When asked what drink besides his own he drinks he quipped, “No Pappy, no Jack, that’s a sin. If they don’t have Wild Turkey, which is very rare, I’ll drink Knob Creek (which just happens to be made by his good friend Freddie Noe).” Other interesting tidbits included the fact that, “My dad still comes to work almost every day, to give me shit.”

Photo by Terry Clark - Wild Turkey Master Distiller/Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame member Eddie Russell

As if listening to Eddie wasn’t entertaining enough, our enjoyment was enhanced as Lead Bartender Terry Clark provided us with a cocktail choice of an Old Fashioned or Whiskey Smash made with Wild Turkey; and we enjoyed an assortment of excellent bites from the Downtown Terrace Kitchen & Bar (formerly called The Perch) that included corn/chicken/tomato ceviche, salad cups with chicken, arancini with Parmesan and garlic aioli, margarita flatbread and bruschetta.  

One certainly gets more than their money’s worth at these tasting experiences, which in this case was $45 (the price varies depending on what spirit is being featured). The monthly tastings, of which there have been four so far, are limited to 50 attendees, and so far have all sold out. For info on future tasting events, visit Oak and Ivy’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/oakandivydtlv.