PDA

View Full Version : My interview with Preston Van Winkle



bourboncc
02-23-2012, 08:56
I had a chance to interview Preston Van Winkle earlier this week, and I thought you guys might be interested in reading it. Enjoy!

http://bourbon.cc/2012/02/preston-van-winkle-interview/

Beer&Bourbon
02-23-2012, 10:39
He ends by stating, "Nothing new to speak of. No extra juice to do anything new with."

I've wondered for awhile what the allocation for Van Winkle is. Do they get a percentage of the Weller line, a certain specific amount (as opposed to percentage), or an unlimited amount (just depends on their pick for what fits the profile)? Does anyone know this?

I ask because I assume the Weller line distillate started to expand within the last decade and wonder if Van Winkle will see any of this or not. I also wonder if the increases are sufficient or even beyond sufficient (could we see new/re-introduced Weller products? I know: unrealistic, but I love the Weller line and can wish for a miracle).

sob0728
02-23-2012, 12:37
He ends by stating, "Nothing new to speak of. No extra juice to do anything new with."

I've wondered for awhile what the allocation for Van Winkle is. Do they get a percentage of the Weller line, a certain specific amount (as opposed to percentage), or an unlimited amount (just depends on their pick for what fits the profile)? Does anyone know this?

I ask because I assume the Weller line distillate started to expand within the last decade and wonder if Van Winkle will see any of this or not. I also wonder if the increases are sufficient or even beyond sufficient (could we see new/re-introduced Weller products? I know: unrealistic, but I love the Weller line and can wish for a miracle).

I think in a different interview Preston said that BT has been using the Van Winkle recipe since around 2000 or 2002 for Van Winkle products. Right now the Van Winkles must be using Weller stock for Pappy 15, but I think in the future they will have their own stuff at BT. If that is true, this year's 10/90 and 10/107 are probably from the original run at BT. I could be completely wrong (it has happened plenty of times before), but I thought that is what I remember hearing from Preston in a K&L(?) interview a while back.

Bmac
02-23-2012, 13:17
He ends by stating, "Nothing new to speak of. No extra juice to do anything new with."

I've wondered for awhile what the allocation for Van Winkle is. Do they get a percentage of the Weller line, a certain specific amount (as opposed to percentage), or an unlimited amount (just depends on their pick for what fits the profile)? Does anyone know this?

I ask because I assume the Weller line distillate started to expand within the last decade and wonder if Van Winkle will see any of this or not. I also wonder if the increases are sufficient or even beyond sufficient (could we see new/re-introduced Weller products? I know: unrealistic, but I love the Weller line and can wish for a miracle).

I think that can be confirmed. Since the deal went through in 2002, we wouldn't be able to see any real "new" product until 2012 and that would be the 10yr product line.

Based on a few interviews with Julian, what makes Pappy is the following:

1. Weller Mashbill.
2. New Make is placed into the barrel at 107 proof.
3. Barrel is placed in the lower to middle ricks.

Typical Weller is put into the barrel at a higher proof, like 117 or 120+ and is placed in higher ricks for more aggressive aging.

My thoughts are that when Julian made the deal, he likely pointed out which barrels of Weller that BT already had would make Pappy or Van Winkle products. Then BT marked those barrels and wa-la, that is how the 2011 Pappy 15yr came to be.

Also, Julian and his son know the flavor profile and have likely over seen the barrels at BT.

Therefore, I have reasonable faith that we'll get good bourbon....but...I still think there was masterful craft at SW that isn't being used. Such as the barrel type, char level, yeast strain, etc.

-my 2 cents

Brisko
02-23-2012, 13:42
Let's not forget that they used some BT barrels to fill out the PVW 15 in what, 2006, if I recall, and that JVW said that he couldn't tell the difference.

And how different can the Weller recipe be from S/W? For all it's worth, isn't Maker's Mark technically Pappy's recipe, too?

Hershmeister
02-23-2012, 16:17
Preston is living the dream!

jtexaslonestar
02-23-2012, 17:01
I had a chance to interview Preston Van Winkle earlier this week, and I thought you guys might be interested in reading it. Enjoy!

http://bourbon.cc/2012/02/preston-van-winkle-interview/

Great job!! Thanks for contributing to my ever expanding desire to learn more and more about the wonderful spirit called Bourbon! I look forward to seeing more of your work.

bourboncc
02-23-2012, 17:21
Preston is living the dream!

He sure is, what a job! I have a similar position at a cigar company and, while it sure isn't all fun, it's still awesome to be doing something you enjoy.


Great job!! Thanks for contributing to my ever expanding desire to learn more and more about the wonderful spirit called Bourbon! I look forward to seeing more of your work.

Thanks! Might want to add us to your RSS reader if you enjoy the articles, I post ~2 reviews per week and will be posting more interviews and news as it comes along.

RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Bourboncc

Young Blacksmith
02-23-2012, 18:01
Don't forget BT was contract distilling for SW in the early 90's. Barrels were then aged at SW.

When BT purchased the Weller line they got back a bunch of BT distilled barrels that went into the Weller products, along with SW distilled and Berhneim distilled product.

So the recipe was not so unknown to BT. They also have aged stock.... It's not so black and white like we'd like it to be.

Bmac
02-23-2012, 19:33
Don't forget BT was contract distilling for SW in the early 90's. Barrels were then aged at SW.

When BT purchased the Weller line they got back a bunch of BT distilled barrels that went into the Weller products, along with SW distilled and Berhneim distilled product.

So the recipe was not so unknown to BT. They also have aged stock.... It's not so black and white like we'd like it to be.

If they had the same quality as SW why didn't they simply release a product that competed, if not excelled Pappy VW? It's not like the VW line was hurting any area of BT's business and that's why they bought it. I think BT needed Julian's knowledge and expertise. Otherwise, BT would have created an ultra premium beyond William LaRue Weller and put Julian out of business. That is not to say that there isn't some brotherhood amongst distillers. :)

Bigspur2011
02-24-2012, 17:23
Enjoyed the interview, always love reading about things I love.

bourboncc
02-25-2012, 07:12
If any of you have any additional questions, Preston said he'd be willing to answer them. Just post them here and I'll post the answers when I receive them.

Restaurant man
02-25-2012, 09:11
If they had the same quality as SW why didn't they simply release a product that competed, if not excelled Pappy VW? It's not like the VW line was hurting any area of BT's business and that's why they bought it. I think BT needed Julian's knowledge and expertise. Otherwise, BT would have created an ultra premium beyond William LaRue Weller and put Julian out of business. That is not to say that there isn't some brotherhood amongst distillers. :)

BT cannot put Mr Vanwinkle out of busines anymore than Nike could put salvatore ferragamo out of business. Even if nike just "decided" to put out a mens dress shoe that rivaled all others, people would still buy ferragamo's. The two companies are night and day. Believe me BT benefits from their association with the Vanwinkles both financially and by the opportunity to learn the secrets that have made PVW so succesful. There is one thing that the vanwinkles will always have that sells bourbon "The Lore"

Ejmharris
02-25-2012, 12:18
If any of you have any additional questions, Preston said he'd be willing to answer them. Just post them here and I'll post the answers when I receive them.

Ask what percentage of PVW releases are slotted for international sales?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

smokinjoe
02-25-2012, 12:24
Ask him why his dad shaved his mustache, and when is he going to grow it back. Bourbonians the world over prefer a mustachioed III to the clean shaven one, by a 5:1 margin.

BTW, this is a serious question. Sorta. ;)

clingman71
02-25-2012, 13:15
Ask him why his dad shaved his mustache, and when is he going to grow it back. Bourbonians the world over prefer a mustachioed III to the clean shaven one, by a 5:1 margin.

BTW, this is a serious question. Sorta. ;)

I second this question. The sans 'stache J3 leaves me confused and bewildered.

I understand the limited quantity leading to a mystique and high demand. I'd like to see a little marketing separation between the Pappy and Old Rip labels. I'd like to ask him about increasing(even a little bit) availability of Old Rip.

jburlowski
02-25-2012, 16:25
Ask him why his dad shaved his mustache, and when is he going to grow it back. Bourbonians the world over prefer a mustachioed III to the clean shaven one, by a 5:1 margin.

BTW, this is a serious question. Sorta. ;)

Amswered in the current issue (Spring 2012) of Whisky Advocate.

smokinjoe
02-25-2012, 16:55
Amswered in the current issue (Spring 2012) of Whisky Advocate.

And?
..............

jburlowski
02-26-2012, 06:20
In the Whiskey Advocate interview Julian relates that at a family Christmas gathering he noticed that his son, Preston, and all his sons-in-law had grown beards. He decided to join them. Later they trimmed their beards down to mustaches only.

On Christams Eve, they announced they were all going to shave off their moustaches. They, along with Julian's wife, "encouraged" him to join in. As a result, his moustache is gone.

TheDude
02-26-2012, 19:35
Just my opinion of course, but it seems like some of the commentary in this thread (and many others concerning the VW and BT relationship) seem to imply that BT bourbon won't "stand up" to the current run of S-W that is still in the 20-23 year Pappy. Or, that BT could never produce a product like Pappy without meticulous oversight by the Van Winkles.

Now I certainly admit that the Van Winkle's are excellent judges of bourbon--I love the VW products when I can find them--but its not like BT makes inferior products. I would put some of the BTAC collection and E.H. Taylor runs right up there with some of the best bourbons I have tasted. That includes PVW 15, 20 and 23. One of my regular pours is ETL, and I think it is a fantastic bourbon and a remarkable value.

My point is that I'm glad that the Van Winkles are working with BT to carry on their line instead of the many other distillers they could have partnered with. I know S-W bourbon is legendary, but like any other distillery, every drop of bourbon they churned out wasn't the best ever made. The BT facility has a long and storied history of making bourbon at the same location in Frankfort for many, many years. They have what it takes to not only make many fantastic brands of their own, but also to partner with the Van Winkle's to keep their product as good (or maybe even better) than it has always been.

Just throwing a little love out to my friends at Buffalo Trace!

bourboncc
02-26-2012, 19:45
Just my opinion of course, but it seems like some of the commentary in this thread (and many others concerning the VW and BT relationship) seem to imply that BT bourbon won't "stand up" to the current run of S-W that is still in the 20-23 year Pappy. Or, that BT could never produce a product like Pappy without meticulous oversight by the Van Winkles.

Now I certainly admit that the Van Winkle's are excellent judges of bourbon--I love the VW products when I can find them--but its not like BT makes inferior products. I would put some of the BTAC collection and E.H. Taylor runs right up there with some of the best bourbons I have tasted. That includes PVW 15, 20 and 23. One of my regular pours is ETL, and I think it is a fantastic bourbon and a remarkable value.

My point is that I'm glad that the Van Winkles are working with BT to carry on their line instead of the many other distillers they could have partnered with. I know S-W bourbon is legendary, but like any other distillery, every drop of bourbon they churned out wasn't the best ever made. The BT facility has a long and storied history of making bourbon at the same location in Frankfort for many, many years. They have what it takes to not only make many fantastic brands of their own, but also to partner with the Van Winkle's to keep their product as good (or maybe even better) than it has always been.

Just throwing a little love out to my friends at Buffalo Trace!

Very well put. Excited to see how the new BT juice tastes.

Lazer
02-26-2012, 19:51
BT cannot put Mr Vanwinkle out of busines anymore than Nike could put salvatore ferragamo out of business. Even if nike just "decided" to put out a mens dress shoe that rivaled all others, people would still buy ferragamo's. The two companies are night and day. Believe me BT benefits from their association with the Vanwinkles both financially and by the opportunity to learn the secrets that have made PVW so succesful. There is one thing that the vanwinkles will always have that sells bourbon "The Lore"

This post is leaving me speechless.

Restaurant man
02-26-2012, 22:13
This post is leaving me speechless.

Please feel free to elaborate. I am not easily offended. :smiley_acbt:

sob0728
02-27-2012, 06:24
...but its not like BT makes inferior products. I would put some of the BTAC collection and E.H. Taylor runs right up there with some of the best bourbons I have tasted. That includes PVW 15, 20 and 23. One of my regular pours is ETL, and I think it is a fantastic bourbon and a remarkable value.

The BT facility has a long and storied history of making bourbon at the same location in Frankfort for many, many years. They have what it takes to not only make many fantastic brands of their own, but also to partner with the Van Winkle's to keep their product as good (or maybe even better) than it has always been.

Just throwing a little love out to my friends at Buffalo Trace!

I agree completely with this sentiment. I love regular BT, ETL, the BTAC, and the PVW 15 from this past fall.

Lazer
02-27-2012, 07:01
Please feel free to elaborate. I am not easily offended. :smiley_acbt:

Sorry, the word ferragamo in a bourbon post through me off. Whiskey is something that is appreciated with experience and perseverance. Ferragamos on the other hand are just there to be flashy. wysiwyg. Bourbon can be appreciated much more deeply then fashion. Just an opinion.

AaronWF
02-27-2012, 10:41
Sorry, the word ferragamo in a bourbon post through me off. Whiskey is something that is appreciated with experience and perseverance. Ferragamos on the other hand are just there to be flashy. wysiwyg. Bourbon can be appreciated much more deeply then fashion. Just an opinion.

First of all, if you'd ever tried on a pair of Ferragamos, you know that they're not just flashy, they're some of the most comfortable dress shoes you can buy.

Second of all, there was nothing in Restaurant Man's post that compared bourbon to fashion, so I find it a bit weird that you would feel the need to point out that the appreciation possible with something like shoes doesn't hold a candle to the complex relationship one may have with whiskey.

I think his point was about branding, nothing more nothing less. To think that the bourbon industry frowns on beefing up products with marketing and 'flash' is pretty naive.

Lazer
02-27-2012, 17:29
I think his point was about branding, nothing more nothing less. To think that the bourbon industry frowns on beefing up products with marketing and 'flash' is pretty naive.

Of course they do, and I'm proud to say I've never bought ferragamos or PVW.

Restaurant man
02-27-2012, 19:46
At times I've overpaid for both and been happy with the decision. I've also overpaid for nike's and gas but that is a different thread. Don't forget I was responding to a thread where someone stated that BT could just "decide" to produce a "super bourbon" that would run the van winkle clan out of town. :lol:

PappyVW23
03-07-2012, 18:25
you are missing out in my opinion. my fav shoes and my fav bourbon. Proud to say i have a bunker full of both. And didn't overpay for either.



Of course they do, and I'm proud to say I've never bought ferragamos or PVW.

T Comp
03-10-2012, 11:08
Based on a few interviews with Julian, what makes Pappy is the following:

1. Weller Mashbill.
2. New Make is placed into the barrel at 107 proof.
3. Barrel is placed in the lower to middle ricks.

Typical Weller is put into the barrel at a higher proof, like 117 or 120+ and is placed in higher ricks for more aggressive aging.




Bmac, Where was this said? Specifically that the BT distilled make is entered into the barrels at different proofs for the Weller vs Van Winkle. And was this practice started back in 2002? I have only listened to the K & L podcast where this was not mentioned.

macdeffe
03-10-2012, 17:55
Of course they do, and I'm proud to say I've never bought ferragamos or PVW.

Proud of not buying PvW ?

I tried the 20yo yesterday, and it's one of the bourbons that can make old men cry :-). I'd go barefooted for a bottle

Steffen

Bigspur2011
03-10-2012, 18:17
I have had the 20 at a local bar, it is spectacular.