Pappy Van Winkle
Posted by Spirits Network on Aug 1st 2022
Discover the taste and the story of the greatest bourbon of all time, "Pappy" Van Winkle.
When Julian “Pappy” van Winkle first entered the Bourbon business, he simply tried to “be honest and make a good product”. Boy, did he succeed. Pappy didn’t just make a good product. He crafted a whiskey that truly lived up to the ‘always fine bourbon’ family motto.
While many mainstream Bourbons are aged for around four years, all Pappy Van Winkle are aged for at least 10 years, with some expressions as old as 25 years.
And that’s where the problem lies. Pappy van Winkle is so good that people can’t get enough of it. Literally.
A bottle of Pappy Van Winkle is exceptionally rare. Just 7,000-8,000 cases of Pappy’s Family Reserve are released each year, every single one of them distilled using careful techniques that follow strict quality standards.
While many mainstream Bourbons are aged for around four years, all Pappy Van Winkle are aged for at least 10 years, with some expressions as old as 25 years. Pappy’s unique flavour is without doubt due to its aging process, though much is often attributed to Pappy’s use of wheat instead of rye which gives his bourbon a softer, sweeter finish.
Representing a long line of Van Winkle’s in the family business, it is Julian Van Winkle III himself who picks the best barrels. The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery company that continues Pappy’s legacy does almost zero advertising of its products.
Instead, it relies on word of mouth. When that word of mouth comes from acclaimed chefs such as David Chang, Sean Brock and Anthony Bourdain (who once said of Pappy Van Winkle “if God made Bourbon, this is what he’d make”), it’s sure to drum up interest. The hype doesn’t stop here – Pappy also performs fantastically well in auctions, second in the chart only to the Macallan for the accolade of the most traded whiskey.
Then there are the awards, and these are just for the 15 year....
• 2019 Gold Medal - San Francisco World Spirits Competition
• 2019 Best Bourbon, 11-15 Years - Jim Murray's Whisky Bible
• 2016 Overall Winner, Best Age Statement Bourbon - World Whiskies Awards
• 2014 Bronze Medal - Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition
• 2014 Extraordinary
• 2014 Gold Medal; Bourbon American Whiskey 8 Years and Over - World Whiskies Awards
• 2013 Double Gold Medal; Best Small Batch Bourbon; Best Bourbon - San Francisco World Spirits Competition
• 2013 Liquid Gold Award - Jim Murray's Whisky Bible
• 2011 Double Gold Medal - San Francisco World Spirits Competition
• 2011 Excellent-Strong Recommendation - Ultimate Spirits Challenge
• 2011 Gold Medal - International Wine & Spirits Competition
• 2010 Gold Medal - Best of Show - Best Whiskey - Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition
• 2006 Gold Medal - San Francisco World Spirits Competition
• 2006 Silver Medal - Best in Class - International Wine & Spirits Competition
• 2005 Double Gold Medal - San Francisco World Spirits Competition
• 2005 Silver Medal - International Spirits Challenge
• 2004 Silver Medal - San Francisco World Spirits Competition
• 2004 Silver Medal - International Spirits Challenge
• 2003 Gold Medal - San Francisco World Spirits Competition
• 2002 Award of Excellence - American Tasting Institute
• 2001 Silver Medal - San Francisco World Spirits Competition
• 2000 Silver Medal - San Francisco World Spirits Competition
OWN A BOTTLE OF "PAPPY "VAN WINKLE
Attention bourbon lovers! A lucky member of Spirits Network will own their own bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year Old Family Reserve. For your chance to own your own bottle, all you have to do is sign-up to Spirits Network via the form below.
Terms & Conditions
• Limit one entry per person
• Entrants must be legal residents of the USA and 21+ years old
• Contest ends October 2nd, 2021 at 11:59 pm EST
• To be eligible to win, the winner must be a registered member of Spirits Network or must submit entry via a postcard with their name and contact details to the address NBTV, 235 Park Ave South, 4th Fl, New York, NY 10003,
• Winner will be chosen at random from all eligible participants using random.org
• Bottles cannot be delivered to recipients in the following states: AK, HI
The Pappy distillery company points to the very high rating it received from the Chicago Beverage Testing Institute. However, it could just as well point to the unprecedented 99 rating it received at the 1998 World Spirits Championships, the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the ‘Spirits of the Year’ award from Wine & Spirits. If there’s a spirits award, Pappy Van Winkle has probably won it.
Pappy always believed that his company should bottle less than it could sell. Whether he ever imagined the difference between what the company does sell and what it could sell would ever be this great, however, is another matter. Every Anthony Bourdain endorsement or Double Gold Medal enhances Pappy Van Winkle’s status; more people hear about it, making it even more coveted. Yet with painfully few cases in circulation, the more coveted it becomes, the harder it is to get.
Secondary sellers latched onto this quickly, using the growing influence of social media and online markets to make a tidy profit in the resale market. As a result, the cost of Pappy Van Winkle often skyrockets north of $2,000, with one Old Rip Van Winkle 25 Year Old expression even going for more than $16,000.
With such scarcity, is it any wonder that those lucky few who do manage to get their hands on Pappy Van Winkle treat it like liquid gold?