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View Full Version : Sorting through the Van Winkle line: priorities?



Robmo
04-10-2011, 08:29
I finally found a store in my area that carries nearly the full line of Van Winkle products. This is extremely rare, and I was actually hyperventilating when I left the store!

Now I'm plotting my return visit and how I'm going to blow my next paycheck. I'll probably have to make some painful choices, so I was wondering: from the following list, which do you consider most essential?

Old Rip Van Winkle 10 y.o. (sorry, didn't check the proof on it)
Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye
Van Winkle Family Reserve 12 y.o. "Lot B"
Pappy Van Winkle 15 y.o.

And, from the above list, is there any one of those products you'd feel most comfortable leaving on the shelf?

By the way what does "Lot B" refer to?

(Note: I'm not so immediately interested in the 20 y.o. or 23 y.o. for the time being, as they are more easily obtainable in my area.)

Fullbuck
04-10-2011, 08:37
Get all of the 15 year you can. The others can all be found just about anytime year round.

MarkEdwards
04-10-2011, 09:09
I like the 15yo, closely followed by the Lot B and the rye. I did not like the one bottle of Old Rip VanWinkle that I tried because of its 'mediciny' taste, although it mixes well with eggnog.

Parkersback
04-10-2011, 09:27
Take this with a grain of salt, as I have had the Lot B, the 10, the 15, and the 20, but never the rye (I have two bunkered that I have not opened yet).

Also, please jump in with other opinions or corrections as needed (like I need to ask... SB is not exactly comprised of shy wallflowers when it comes to opinions or corrections) :rolleyes: :grin:

However, I'd say the priority would be the rye, as there is a finite supply of it. The 10 and the Lot B are being made at BT and it's pretty safe to say they will be in production for a while.

The 15 is either entirely made up of SW make, or is a combination of BT and SW, and that is finite, too. But, I believe BT is in the process of making and aging stuff that will be at least similar to the 15 in bottles today. Personally, I highly doubt that I could differentiate between a 15 yr old BT Van Winkle 107 wheater, and pure SW VW 107 wheater. Blind, I guarantee I could not. Maybe others could.

The question is, then, is there a rye being made now that will replace VWFRR with the same mashbill, aging, etc in the same way they are seeking to replicate the wheaters? I have not heard that they are, but I could certainly be wrong.

Release the hounds.

Parkersback
04-10-2011, 09:28
Take this with a grain (or a spoonful) of salt, as I have had the Lot B, the 10, the 15, and the 20, but never the rye (I have two bunkered that I have not opened yet).

Also, please jump in with other opinions or corrections as needed (like I need to ask... SB is not exactly comprised of shy wallflowers when it comes to opinions or corrections) :rolleyes: :grin:

However, I'd say the priority would be the rye, as there is a finite supply of it. The 10 and the Lot B are being made at BT and it's pretty safe to say they will be in production for a while.

The 15 is either entirely made up of SW make, or is a combination of BT and SW, and the SW is finite, too. But, I believe BT is in the process of making and aging stuff that will be at least similar to the 15 in bottles today. Personally, I highly doubt that I could differentiate between a 15 yr old BT Van Winkle 107 wheater, and pure SW VW 107 wheater. Blind, I guarantee I could not. Maybe others could.

The question is, then, is there a rye being made now that will replace VWFRR with the same mashbill, aging, etc in the same way they are seeking to replicate the wheaters? I have not heard that they are, but I could certainly be wrong.

Release the hounds.

bourbon-n00b
04-10-2011, 11:32
I'd load up on the 15 and the Rye and try to squeeze in a bottle or two of the 10yr, provided that it's the 107 proof version.

If you still had $$ after that, Lot B is never a bad idea. I just think it's a little less-essential than the other options...

unclebunk
04-10-2011, 12:55
The Pappy 15 and VWFRR are my favorites of the bunch by a long shot and, as others have noted, in finite supply. If possible, you may wish to pick up a few of each and leave the others for a rainy day when you've got a few dollars burning a hole in your pocket.

Josh
04-10-2011, 14:30
I would rank them in the following order (accounting for price):

1. Old Rip 10/107
2. Pappy 15/107
3. VW Family Reserve Rye
4. (distant) Lot B (15 y/o)
5. Pappy 20
6. Old Rip 10/90
7.Pappy 23

flintlock
04-10-2011, 15:09
You're not buying Picassos - it's made to drink. Buy what you like. If you haven't drunk these whiskies, get one of each. Open it - taste it. If you like it, buy as much as you want. That is the whole of the law and the prophets. :cool:

The 15 year is a "dead man walking". Once it's gone, you'll never see it again. The rest of the line will be available in one form or another, for many years to come. (Until, all of a sudden, they aren't...)

Remember, if you don't want them, someone else will. Never a bad idea to have desireable trading stock on hand.

CaptainQ
04-10-2011, 15:56
Rob,

Here's how I would buy if I were you:
#1 top priority-Pappy 15(like others have said once it's gone , it's gone for good)(well liked by nearly everyone here on SB)
#2-the rye(it's on its last days, old stock)
#3-the 10/107
#4-TIE between Lot B 12 year old and the Pappy 20.

Good luck, I know how you feel.

smokinjoe
04-10-2011, 16:10
Get the rye. It's wonderful whiskey, and there simply isn't much rye made these days of such quality as the VWFRR. If you're not sure about rye, in general, then go with the 15. The provenance doesn't matter, because it's so confusing, I don't think the VW's even know for sure, anymore. (at least, based on what they have, and have not, then have, but still have not, said.). Regardless, the 15 is wonderful, too.

cigarnv
04-10-2011, 16:54
The 15YO followed by the rye....

callmeox
04-10-2011, 17:29
I'm with SmokinJoe for the same reasons.

Rye then 15. You should try both of them before they disappear/change for good.

Robmo
04-10-2011, 17:49
Sounds like most are in consensus that the 15 yr and rye are priorities. And I do like rye. Makes the funds allocation a lot easier. If budget allows, I might even double up.

Thanks for all the great advice! Man I love this web site.

jburlowski
04-10-2011, 19:00
Maybe I'm too late for the consensus but I'd say:

15 - far and away better than the rest
Lot B... as Chuck says, you can't go wrong
ORVW... especially if it is the 10/107
the rye... very good but (at least here) not that good for the price compared to the competition

Parkersback
04-10-2011, 19:56
Regarding Lot B, it's good whiskey, but I can't ever see myself buying a bottle as long as Weller 12 exists (at less than half the price). I had a glass of Lot B last week at a bar, and had just finished a bottle of of the Weller 12 the week before that, and to me, they are nearly indistinguishable.

CaptainQ
04-10-2011, 20:03
Regarding Lot B, it's good whiskey, but I can't ever see myself buying a bottle as long as Weller 12 exists (at less than half the price). I had a glass of Lot B last week at a bar, and had just finished a bottle of of the Weller 12 the week before that, and to me, they are nearly indistinguishable.

When Weller 12 is good it can be as great as Lot B, but recently I'll give the nod to the Van Winkle. You do pay extra for the Van Winkle selected honey barrels.

Vosgar
04-10-2011, 21:07
I'd load up on the 15 and the Rye and try to squeeze in a bottle or two of the 10yr, provided that it's the 107 proof version.

If you still had $$ after that, Lot B is never a bad idea. I just think it's a little less-essential than the other options...

What he said

Gary

White Dog
04-11-2011, 09:52
Take this with a grain of salt, as I have had the Lot B, the 10, the 15, and the 20, but never the rye (I have two bunkered that I have not opened yet).

Also, please jump in with other opinions or corrections as needed (like I need to ask... SB is not exactly comprised of shy wallflowers when it comes to opinions or corrections) :rolleyes: :grin:

However, I'd say the priority would be the rye, as there is a finite supply of it. The 10 and the Lot B are being made at BT and it's pretty safe to say they will be in production for a while.

The 15 is either entirely made up of SW make, or is a combination of BT and SW, and that is finite, too. But, I believe BT is in the process of making and aging stuff that will be at least similar to the 15 in bottles today. Personally, I highly doubt that I could differentiate between a 15 yr old BT Van Winkle 107 wheater, and pure SW VW 107 wheater. Blind, I guarantee I could not. Maybe others could.

The question is, then, is there a rye being made now that will replace VWFRR with the same mashbill, aging, etc in the same way they are seeking to replicate the wheaters? I have not heard that they are, but I could certainly be wrong.

Release the hounds.

You have 2 bottled yet you've never tried the Rye?!? Good god, man, crack that seal. You will not be disappointed. :bowdown: :bowdown:

White Dog
04-11-2011, 09:54
Regarding Lot B, it's good whiskey, but I can't ever see myself buying a bottle as long as Weller 12 exists (at less than half the price). I had a glass of Lot B last week at a bar, and had just finished a bottle of of the Weller 12 the week before that, and to me, they are nearly indistinguishable.

I feel the same way concerning Lot B/Weller 12.

RyanL
04-11-2011, 09:59
I tried the Rye and PVW23 this weekend at a bar for the first time. The rye is now a must buy for me if I find it anywhere, not so much for the 23 as long as I can still find 20 around.

Robmo
04-11-2011, 13:51
Maybe I'm too late for the consensus but...


No problem! Chiming in is always appreciated.:lol:

LikeItWasSodaPop
04-11-2011, 15:09
Echoing the echo, I guess I will parrot White Dog and say that I have had 2 recent bottles of Lot B and found two separate bottles of Weller 12 better than both.

I had first bought the Weller 12 in early Feb when I first started lurking. Loved it. Then grabbed the Lot B and was surprised at how underwhelmed it left me. Just tasted flat. Let it sit in the glass to breathe, etc., and still nothing. The name alone bothered me, and reminded me of an inferior nightlife establishment that named itself "Plan B." It seemed to know it wasn't better than the competition, but hey, if that place was too crowded, it could serve as a grudging alternative. Calling something "Lot B" seems to beg the question, "Where the eff is the 'Lot A'"?

Nevertheless, I convinced myself that I got a bum bottle. It's VW after all. Got another from a different store where I was able to confirm it was likely from a different batch (first was from Binny's where shelves move fast, second had been on the shelf for at least 2 years). Bad move. Just as flat.

Then found the Binny's single barrel Weller 12 at a suburban location. And I found it to be miles better than either Lot B bottle I have.

I enjoy all the other VW products, but the Lot B is the outlier to me. I do save the bottles for random vattings since they look nice.

LikeItWasSodaPop
04-11-2011, 15:16
I guess I had it a bit wrong, White Dog finds Weller 12 and Lot B indistinguishable, I find Weller 12 better.

As for the OP -- mind telling us what these bottles selling for in Japan, particularly the consensus favorites (PWV 15 and the FRR)?

I'm always surprised to see the vast fluctuations in price across geography and time as I peruse threads on this site. My corner store has the ORVW 10 / 107 for $45, even though Binny's (when it has it) sells it for at least $10 less.

From what I vaguely remember from an interview, the FRR was initially sold in the Japanese market and Julian only began selling it here after friends urged him to. So I'm curious as to what it's selling for over there.

Thanks.

hectic1
04-11-2011, 15:25
Echoing the echo, I guess I will parrot White Dog and say that I have had 2 recent bottles of Lot B and found two separate bottles of Weller 12 better than both.

I had first bought the Weller 12 in early Feb when I first started lurking. Loved it. Then grabbed the Lot B and was surprised at how underwhelmed it left me. Just tasted flat. Let it sit in the glass to breathe, etc., and still nothing. The name alone bothered me, and reminded me of an inferior nightlife establishment that named itself "Plan B." It seemed to know it wasn't better than the competition, but hey, if that place was too crowded, it could serve as a grudging alternative. Calling something "Lot B" seems to beg the question, "Where the eff is the 'Lot A'"?

Nevertheless, I convinced myself that I got a bum bottle. It's VW after all. Got another from a different store where I was able to confirm it was likely from a different batch (first was from Binny's where shelves move fast, second had been on the shelf for at least 2 years). Bad move. Just as flat.

Then found the Binny's single barrel Weller 12 at a suburban location. And I found it to be miles better than either Lot B bottle I have.

I enjoy all the other VW products, but the Lot B is the outlier to me. I do save the bottles for random vattings since they look nice. That doesn't surprise me that you liked the Binny's Weller 12 better then the lot b. The Binny's Weller 12 was 14yr 3mo Bernheim juice and some of the best Weller 12 Single barrel that I've ever had...too bad there isn't any more Binny's Weller 12 around! :(

OscarV
04-11-2011, 15:28
from the following list, which do you consider most essential?

Old Rip Van Winkle 10 y.o. (sorry, didn't check the proof on it)
Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye
Van Winkle Family Reserve 12 y.o. "Lot B"
Pappy Van Winkle 15 y.o.



Ok, I am taking money out of the equation.
I am assuming they are all priced the same, they're not but I am looking at them that way.
So I'll stack 'em up this way based on taste only.

1. Van Winkle Rye
2. Old Rip 10/107, you didn't state the proof but in my list it's 10/107
3. Van Winkle "Lot B" btw "Lot B" doesn't mean anything
4. Pappy 15yo, to dry for a wheater

hectic1
04-11-2011, 15:36
For me my priorities are:
Pappy 15
Pappy 20
VWFRR
ORVW 10/107
VW Lot B
Pappy 23
ORVW 10/90

If price comes into the equation that changes some:
Pappy 15
ORVW 10/107
VWFRR
Pappy 20
VW Lot B
ORVW 10/90
Pappy 23

OscarV
04-11-2011, 15:39
I would rank them in the following order (accounting for price):

1. Old Rip 10/107
2. Pappy 15/107
3. VW Family Reserve Rye
4. (distant) Lot B (15 y/o)
5. Pappy 20
6. Old Rip 10/90
7.Pappy 23


For me my priorities are:
Pappy 15
Pappy 20
VWFRR
ORVW 10/107
VW Lot B
Pappy 23
ORVW 10/90

If price comes into the equation that changes some:
Pappy 15
ORVW 10/107
VWFRR
Pappy 20
VW Lot B
ORVW 10/90
Pappy 23

Robmo asked about 4, where did the other 3 come from?

hectic1
04-11-2011, 15:41
Robmo asked about 4, where did the other 3 come from?
duh...that's what I get for note rereading the OP question after not posting when I first read it a couple days ago...successful slapping of the fingers by Oscar! ;)

Josh
04-11-2011, 17:26
Robmo asked about 4, where did the other 3 come from?

MY MIND.:skep:

:usflag: :fish2: :fish2: :usflag:

SMOWK
04-11-2011, 19:46
Robmo asked about 4, where did the other 3 come from?

At least nobody mentioned the decanter. It looks like quite a few people have one, but not many people have opened it yet.

DeanSheen
04-11-2011, 20:32
This one is easy.

Joe and Scott already said it. VWFRR

In order of taste preference and what I buy:

VWFRR
Lot B
15 year

I'm not interested in the price premium for any of the others. The QPR is off for me.

SMOWK
04-11-2011, 20:39
15
RYE
20
10/107

But really, I love them all.

birdman1099
04-12-2011, 05:37
At least nobody mentioned the decanter. It looks like quite a few people have one, but not many people have opened it yet.


I have one, and I opened one.... :D I wouldn't call it the best Van Winkle product I have ever had, but it is good !!!!

docbible
04-12-2011, 05:55
I have an empty decanter and others that are unopened. Loved the bourbon but am waiting for a special time to crack the others. As far as purchase preference of the ones listed 1) VWFRR 2) 15 yo 3 ) 10 yo 4) lot B. I do like the 20yo and would place it in a tie with the 15yo. tim

jcg9779
04-12-2011, 07:40
15
RYE
20
10/107

But really, I love them all.

I agree with this order. I love the 15 yr., but have only tried the Rye once and it was very good, so it would definitely be second for me.

Robmo
04-12-2011, 19:50
As for the OP -- mind telling us what these bottles selling for in Japan, particularly the consensus favorites (PWV 15 and the FRR)?

Thanks.

These prices are what you might pay if you were to come over to Japan and convert your U.S. dollars into Japanese money:

FRR.....$85.00
12yr/Lot B....$90
(I don't remember the 15 yr exactly but it was similarly priced to the above two. The ORVW 10 yr was somewhere in the $50 range but don't remember exactly)
Pappy 20 yr $180
Pappy 23 yr $430
Bonus info: Saz 18 yr rye, $300

(Prices include tax.I don't know if it's meaningful to convert Japanese prices into US dollars but that's what I've done because I assume it's easier for most people on this board to visualize. )

I have seen the 20 and 23 year in one other liquor store chain in Tokyo, but the FRR, 12 yr and 15 yr were my first actual sightings. I'm sure there are some other bourbonites in Tokyo who are aware of and covet these, but my experience is that most people in Tokyo just stick with Wild Turkey or 4 Roses if they like bourbon at all.