The Connoisseur's Bourbon

Old Rip Van Winkle's spirits are a drinker's dream


It’s holiday season once again and one of the best things about the gift-giving season is the annual release of giftable whiskies! Each year, the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery releases some of the most sought-after, exceptional, and highly regarded bourbons of the year. These limited-release bottlings highlight the distiller’s art like few others. They are exceptional American spirits and worth taking a look at.

The Old Rip Van Winkle distillery was officially founded post-Prohibition in 1935 when Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr. founded the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in South Louisville, KY. While the distillery has seen four generations of Van Winkles oversee the operations since Pappy officially started, it’s anybody's guess how far back the distiller’s art goes in the Van Winkle clan.
Pappy passed away in 1965 at the age of 91 and each year the distillery releases special bottlings to commemorate the family, as well as the quality that set Pappy’s bourbons apart. The key to the Van Winkles’ special blends is the inclusion of wheat, as opposed to the somewhat more aggressive rye, in each bourbon. The wheat adds a softness to the bourbon, as well as some backbone that helps support ageing. You owe it to yourself to try these small-batch bourbons, and the wickedly good rye. Buy a bottle or two for gifts, but make sure you remember to stash a bottle for yourself for the holiday season!

At 12 years of age this whiskey remains full-flavored and intense. At 90.4 proof it packs a kick, but is still well balanced and tame in the glass.

A classic bourbon; redolent of caramel, smoke, and spice with a smooth character, yet one that still reveals some engaging roughness around the edges.

The epitome of well behavin’ bourbon. This has all the depth of the finest whiskies with a smooth, polished character. 

Super-hard to find, with only 700 bottles released at a time, this is contemplative bourbon. Fine, balanced, deep, and complex. A true exception.

If you like rye you have to try this. Peppery and spicy yet with the aromatic explosiveness of rye in a light, easy-to-drink style. I love it.

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  • Snooth User: dc27
    118535 60

    Check out Great Rye Whiskey, small and limited production. Very good!

    Dec 02, 2010 at 4:05 PM

  • Snooth User: La Lonza
    143212 53

    On a roadtrip in college, my roommate and I made a pilgrimage to the Buffalo Trace distillery in Frankfort, where we tried and were instantly smitten with ol' Pappy. We could only afford to take home the 15 (which is stupendous in its own right), but the 20 year old was, without question, one of the two finest whiskeys I've ever tried (the other being Irish, Middleton Very Rare)...

    Dec 02, 2010 at 4:35 PM

  • Snooth User: mspinot
    596383 4

    I wrote about my love affair with Pappy:

    Dec 02, 2010 at 11:45 PM

  • Snooth User: jhunter
    566625 1

    I was in Naples,Florida earlier this year and spotted two 20s and a 23 in the locked premium cabinet while browsing through a wine store.What a nice surprise.Purchased the 3 of them.Cannot wait to return in a couple of weeks with the hope of finding more.

    Dec 04, 2010 at 8:56 AM


    Dec 05, 2010 at 5:27 PM

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