Pappy Van Winkle

Oh Pappy Days! This year’s Pappy will be plentiful … or will it?

I just received the annual Pappy Van Winkle press release from Buffalo Trace, and it looks like all six expressions will be released this year — and there will be more bottles available than in the past. Does that mean you’ll be able to walk into Liquor Barn and find one on the shelf? Hell no!

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Van Winkle line partnering with Buffalo Trace Distillery.

 “(Buffalo Trace Master Distiller) Harlen Wheatley and his predecessors had been distilling the W.L. Weller wheated recipe for many years before our 2002 joint venture. We trusted their expertise in distilling and aging, and it paid off, as many of Buffalo Trace’s brands are just as sought after as our own,” said Julian Van Winkle III, president of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, in the news release.

“My son Preston and I still take care of the marketing and management of our brands, but we leave the rest of it to the team at Buffalo Trace. The 20-year partnership has flown by, and I feel confident we’re leaving it in good hands for the future Van Winkle generations.” 

Pappy Van Winkle
The full lineup of Pappy Van Winkle whiskeys. | Courtesy

The bottles should be hitting shelves in October. If you’re curious about the suggested retail pricing and tasting notes of each expression, here are the notes from the news release:

$69.99 — Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10-Year-Old 107 proof

Tasting Notes: 

Color: Tawny in color.

Nose: Very sweet, with notes of honey, dulce de leche, caramel corn, rooibos tea and lightly toasted nuts. Hints of the wheat and corn are present which enhances the complexity. 

Taste: Medium-bodied palate with dried fruit and nuts. Each sip finishes with a very long bold wave of floral honey, caramel, and toasted barrel flavors which counter the weight of the alcohol.

Finish: An elegant balance between oak, grain, and maturation.

$79.99 — Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12-Year-Old (90.4 proof)

Tasting Notes:

Color: Brilliant amber.

Nose: Rich and decadent with butterscotch, toffee, vanilla and hints of nectarine and satsuma adding to the complexity. There is still a wisp of bready wheat present which is perfectly balanced with the spicy and rich oak notes.

Taste: Butterscotch and toffee are prominent in the taste but there are also hints of spiced praline which contribute to the long, round finish that is sweet without being cloying.

Finish: An outrageously well-crafted bourbon that pays homage to its source ingredients but shows that oak, the right distillate, and patience can create unparalleled depth and balance.

$119.99 — Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13-Year-Old (95.6 proof)

Tasting Notes:

Color: Rich copper color.

Nose: An incredibly enticing and complex aroma with notes of toasted pumpernickel, plum, fig, and sweet-tobacco aromas

Taste: Smooth with medium-to full-bodied palate bursting with bold and delicious flavors of toffee, caraway, and dried cherry, and a hint of leather and mint.

Finish: A symphony of flavors sits endlessly on the palate, causing the unsuspecting drinker to wish there was an endless supply in their glass.

$119.99 — Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15-Year-Old (107 proof)

Tasting Notes:

Color: Striking, brilliant, copper color.

Nose: The aroma is seductive with intense sweet brown notes like maple, caramelized sugar, toffee, and toasted almond.

Taste: Waves of caramel and toffee meld into familiar memories of fresh-baked holiday spice cookies made with molasses. The mouthfeel is rich, supple, full-bodied and briefly veers toward decadent before the wood influences lend a balancing dryness.

Finish: Long, flavorful, and complex. An unbelievably opulent and flawless bourbon that takes wood and distillate to its absolute pinnacle.

$199.99 — Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20-Year-Old (90.4 proof)

Tasting Notes: 

Color: Dark amber in appearance with ruby highlights.

Nose: This full-bodied bourbon has a sophisticated forefront of leather with complementary notes of smoke, warm tobacco, treacle, espresso, and charred oak.

Taste: The aromas and flavors are endlessly complex and each new sip reveals something new to discover.

Finish: Suave and confident with layers of bold, integrated nuances.

$299.99 — Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23-Year-Old (95.6 proof)

Tasting Notes: 

  • Color: Rich mahogany color.
  • Nose: Reminiscent of a crisp fall day, with aromas of ripe red apples, cherries and tobacco.
  • Taste: Wood is the star here with supporting notes of caramel, apple, apricot, leather, walnuts, and vanilla Crème Brulé.
  • Finish: Long-lasting and rich, opening with bold flavors of oak and caramel that tease the palate before fading slowly and elegantly until the next sip.