Brenon Russell likes his bourbon neat in a glencairn whiskey glass. The tapered mouth of the cup’s design allows him to breathe in the nuances of each top shelf pour before he imbibes. Some nights, after the kids are asleep, he’ll start with a 110 proof then work his way up. These are half-ounce pours, by the way — just sips to please the palate and if he indulges long enough to take the edge off, well, that’s just a nice bonus.
Born in Union, Kentucky and raised almost anywhere you can find a farm in Boone County, bourbon may be in Brenon’s wild Kentucky corn-fed blood. It all really started back in his bottom-shelf days at law school in Louisville. “During derby week, they just throw all these bourbon parties at you,” Brenon said. He didn’t love it at first, but the higher he went up the shelf, the more he started to appreciate it. “I really liked the higher-aged stuff, but my wallet and law school budget back then did not.”
Bourbon isn’t just liquor to Brenon. It’s more sophisticated than that. Bourbon is a culture — and occasionally, it’s art. “I have a collection of decorative bottles that I won’t ever open,” Brenon said. “They’re just for show.” He’s talking about the Woodford derby bottle and Maker’s Mark Justified he has on display in his office. He said he’s drawn to the derby theme, another Kentucky tradition. You can also find a unique Maker’s Johnny Bench there as well — a nod to the Reds, his favorite ball team.
Brenon actually played a little ball himself. He was pitcher of the year at Conner High School and then went on to pitch for the Thomas More College Saints before his arm gave out. He knew something was wrong when his fastball dropped to speeds he could top in high school. And then the pain set it. “The doctor told me I could go the route of surgery and rehab,” Brenon said, “but I was focused more on school then anyway, so I just decided to hang it up. I figured as long as I can toss the ball with my kids someday, I’ll be happy with that.”
Today, Brenon has two kids, a boy and a girl. At 20 months and eight months respectively, his fatherhood pitching days haven’t quite started yet, but he looks forward to them. Brenon’s a family man through and through. He met his wife at Thomas More College and insists that her story is more interesting than his. It probably has something to do with her giving up a career in finance to pursue her dreams in fashion — something you can tell Brenon admires about her deeply.
It could have been the family man in Brenon that drew him to estate planning. He says his approach with his clients is one of compassion and empathy because he understands the morbidity and intimidation that comes when putting together a plan. Besides, when it comes to a client trying to make sense of a lost loved one, Brenon has literally walked in those shoes.
Brenon’s father left when he was very young, leaving Brenon and his mother on their own. His mother would remarry eventually and then become pregnant with Brenon’s half-brother. Then one day, while at work, her heart stopped beating and she collapsed. The doctors were able to save Brenon’s brother, but not his mother. Brenon’s stepfather didn’t take the loss very well, and to make a long story short, the family utilized an all-hands-on-deck approach to care for his half-brother.
Needless to say, family is not something Brenon takes for granted. Family isn’t a formality or something you just do. Family is everything, and he is guided by a unique motivating principle as a father: “What motivates me is what not to do. I saw the mistakes that people close to me made and I don’t want to repeat them.” This is probably why he adores his kids and seems to glow when he talks about them.
On the weekends, when Brenon is not at church with his wife and kids, you might find him on a golf course with his friends. He’ll be the first to tell you how bad he is, compared to his friends at least. The six-foot putt he missed that would have put his all-time-best score into the 80s still haunts him to this day. You can tell it hurts for him to say 90. He says he’s drawn to golf because it’s the one sport he hasn’t mastered yet, but it could also be the sips of bourbon in between holes that really keeps him coming back for more.
Brenon’s practice centers around estate planning. He knows that the topic can be morbid and intimidating for many individuals and families, so he brings a compassionate approach when meeting with clients, striving to bring peace of mind and a sense of security to the clients he serves.
Growing up playing sports, Brenon understands what it means to be a part of a team; from MVP seasons as the quarterback of his peewee teams to pitching for the local Thomas More College Saints. He wants each family he serves to feel as if they are a part of his team when putting together their estate plan. He works with clients to develop a deep understanding of their goals, and understands that each family has unique goals they seek to accomplish, as there is no one-size-fits-all plan.
Brenon strives to ensure every concern is alleviated; from intricate tax issues to the distribution of family heirlooms, his comprehensive approach is what ensures a smooth transition upon passing.