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View Full Version : For those of us who can't find (or afford) PVW......



Painkiller
03-30-2013, 09:14
what fairly easily obtainable juice is out there that most closely resembles the "taste" and "ambiance" of the holy grail?? Surely there is something out there that gets close...? I've not had the stuff in quite a while and would like to see what all the fuss is about, in a more reasonable nature. There has to be something to quench my desire. Come on, my fellow bourbonerds, throw me some suggestions. I am all ears and ready to drink! The palate is waiting........

Tico
03-30-2013, 09:19
JPS 18 is probably the closest

squire
03-30-2013, 09:51
Painkiller, I would certainly agree Pappy is the holy grail of hype but that is current thinking, often from those who were not drinking Bourbon as recently as five years ago. Those of us who were buying and consuming Bourbon in the 1970s, made when the Van Winkle family still owned the Stitzel-Weller distillery, recognized their product as just one of the quality labels and routinely passed them over while reaching for a rye recipe brand.

If what your are asking for is a highest quality wheat recipe then the Parker Heritage 10 year cask strength comes to mind but anything like that may be hard to obtain.

If you are looking for highest quality Bourbons generally I'll be glad to list some for your consideration.

Phil T
03-30-2013, 10:02
I've had some OWA SB's that are just mind blowing delicious. And have never paid more then $23 a bottle. Stick that in your pipe VW hipsters.

Just to be fair, my tasting of the VW's has been very limited. But what I've had, has very good. Just not worth the effort to find.

BradleyC
03-30-2013, 10:08
Another Pappy thread. SWEET!


These usually make for some interesting reading.

squire
03-30-2013, 10:09
Oh no Bradley, this is a what other than Pappy thread.

squire
03-30-2013, 10:10
You're right though, could be fun.

P&MLiquorsEric
03-30-2013, 10:34
Weller 12 year. Not always available at every store but should be able to find it most of the time.

BradleyC
03-30-2013, 10:41
Oh no Bradley, this is a what other than Pappy thread.

We'll just have to wait and see where it goes I guess. To answer the OP's question I would have to say the OWA/Weller 12 blend.

HighInTheMtns
03-30-2013, 10:45
holy grail
I wish people would stop thinking this about VW whiskeys. I think people are just setting themselves up for disappointment. They're good whiskeys. There are lots of good whiskeys.

There is no holy grail.

Bradley's suggestion is a good one.

Parkersback
03-30-2013, 11:01
What Eric said. If you'll look around the site a bit you'll discover that Weller 12 is a kissing cousin of Van Winkle Lot B, and Old Weller Antique is something like the runt little brother of Van Winkle 10/107.

You could also make what is referred to here as the "SB Blend", which is equal parts Weller 12 and Old Weller Antique. Lots of folks do variations on that, using different proportions, or using Weller Special Reserve, or even Larceny, Old Fitz BIB or Makers.

I also like what Squire said, which is to call in to question the Holy Grail-ness of PVW. I've had quite a few bottles of PVW15 and PVW20, and they were all great, some sublime. But I've had lots of other bottles that were just as good, some of which are rare and/or expensive (Parker's Cognac, ND Old Taylor BIB from 1972, EC18, Saz18) and some of which can be found just about anywhere. For example, I've had some standard Four Roses Single Barrel, Rittenhouse BIB or some Ancient Ancient Age that were amazingly delicious. Of course nobody is going to gasp with awe when you pull out any of those bottles, two of which are about $20, and all three of which can be found pretty easily (Ancient Ancient Age is a little tough to find, but it can be ordered by the case from the Party Source.)

Finally, for what it's worth, the one restaurant pour I had of Jefferson's 18 was not really all that great. Way too tannic for me. YMMV.

squire
03-30-2013, 11:06
I'm spotting a trend here.

BFerguson
03-30-2013, 11:10
Try the recent Vintage 17yr if you can find it.

B

Painkiller
03-30-2013, 11:34
Just to make myself clear (and save face here) I use the words holy grail with a bit of dark sarcasm. I love how something is so hyped up, it gets to the point where it loses it's original glory, if that makes sense. Now it's bought as much to say " Hey, look what I have! " as it is to drink it. Maybe more so. Supply and Demand. And yes, I have the Weller 12 and the OWA. Really like them alot; plenty of bang for the buck. Hard to beat.

Gentleman Racer
03-30-2013, 11:42
JPS 18 is probably the closest

Agreed. As soon as I saw the OP I thought JPS 18.

WsmataU
03-30-2013, 13:12
Well, two points...1) JRPS 17/18 are pretty much the same juice that Julian selected his PVW 20 from. However, he did cherry pick the best honey barrels. So PVW has a distinct advantage. I don't know that I could differentiate a hand selected single barrel of (for example) OWA vs the "standard" OWA in a blind taste test....that may be a good experiment !
The second point is that calling PVW a "holy grail" is a complete overstatement (you alluded to this in another post). There are several other bourbons that are considered far beyond what is currently in the Van Winkle line, including; ORVW 15, A.H. Hirsch 16 (blue wax) or 20 (red wax), any of the VVOF line. Of course these are all "dusties" but they are still out there in people's collections.
I think you've been given some good suggestions. The one I haven't seen mentioned yet is any of the BTAC WLW. It is different than the PVW 15 but both are from Buffalo Trace.

PaulO
03-30-2013, 13:38
Whenever the VW thing gets started, I remember that one of my favorite stores always had several different versions of Pappy in their display case. They only wanted the regular retail price. I don't know what the turnover was like, but I saw it there for many years. Nowadays, it seems the display case is only high priced Scotch. It doesn't bother me. I like OWA, and Weller 12. I don't feel like I'm missing out.

tigerlam92
03-30-2013, 14:04
Drink whatever that you like as bourbon is very subjective. One may love PVW another may not as much.

I am obsess because I love the taste but if I have not had it and didn't know I love it I won't really bother.

I would recommend WLW as similar in profile. Also, Lot B is quite good and is my daily pour although it is PVW, it may be slightly easier to find.

Cheers
Hugh

ebo
03-30-2013, 15:00
Having finally had the chance to taste PVW Bourbon..................... it's good. It's very good. But it isn't so good I would take the time it takes to find it, or pay the price asked for it. I'd honestly just as soon drink OGD BiB rather than jump through hoops for any PVW.

sailor22
03-30-2013, 15:31
You can get in the same general zip code as Pappy with two parts Weller 12 and one part Weller Antique with a very small splash of Knob Creek barrel proof. Also some JPR 18 barrel picks I have tasted have been very similar.
This one is kind of out there but if the new Michters 25yr single barrel is anything like the sample bottle they let us drink locally its a dead ringer. Probaly no less expensive and no less difficult to find.

squire
03-30-2013, 15:33
WsmataU do you have any verification Jefferson has access to the same whisky stock Julian chooses from?

WAINWRIGHT
03-30-2013, 16:34
I would say experimenting with a vatting of W12,V17 and JPS 18 would be your most likely combination for success.I mean you would then have all key components including Bernheim,BT and SW should be pretty close with a little tweaking of ratios.

T Comp
03-30-2013, 16:51
You can get in the same general zip code as Pappy with two parts Weller 12 and one part Weller Antique with a very small splash of Knob Creek barrel proof.

That small splash of KC sounds interesting Steve and going to try myself. My last bottle of Knob Creeek Reserve, a Binny's pick was quite excellent and in its own way as good as a PVW. Time to grab another.

squire
03-30-2013, 16:51
I like what I'm hearing here. If one want's something a bit different or to reproduce a flavor profile vatting is the way to go rather buying a more expensive bottle.

darylld911
03-30-2013, 18:53
I wish people would stop thinking this about VW whiskeys. I think people are just setting themselves up for disappointment. They're good whiskeys. There are lots of good whiskeys.

There is no holy grail.

Bradley's suggestion is a good one.

Well said. I bought my first PVW last year and was unimpressed for the hype and dough. I would take a WLW over PVW.

squire
03-30-2013, 19:01
Gary I expect a number of folks will eventually come to your conclusion.

BradleyC
03-30-2013, 19:16
Well said. I bought my first PVW last year and was unimpressed for the hype and dough. I would take a WLW over PVW.


Shhhhhhhhhh!


WLW is aweful. dont buy it.

bllygthrd
03-30-2013, 19:17
A most interesting discussion ... I regularly have OWA and Weller 12 on-hand ... if VW doesn't offer a quantum leap ... guess I'm not missing much based on $.

squire
03-30-2013, 19:44
More like baby steps.

Painkiller
03-30-2013, 20:29
Wow, Sailor! Now there's a concoction if ever I saw one! I happen to have all 3 of the ingredients, and by the by, I must say I really enjoy the KCSB. Say what you will, right now I put that way up high on my list of fav's. A li'l splash of purified water and it's hard to believe it's a 120 proofer. I shall try that recipe. Down here in S FL you never find dusties of any kind (not counting the '09 4R Mariage I stumbled upon), so you make do with what you have. That is one of the reasons I started this thread.

WsmataU
03-31-2013, 03:33
WsmataU do you have any verification Jefferson has access to the same whisky stock Julian chooses from?

None at all...that is just my impression of how the SW stock sell off happened. Everything I've understood is that Julian and crew hand selected what they wanted and the rest of the stock was sold off. I think Trey and company saw an opportunity to capitalize on the SW - Pappy association and marketed as such. I know I can't go into a local liquor store without the proprietor telling me that JRPS 18 is the same as PVW. I have plenty of both, and don't think either one is worth more than $75 bottle. I stopped bunkering PVW15 once it switched to BT juice (I still think it is great bourbon, but I'm not willing to pay the "Pappy" premium.)

darylld911
03-31-2013, 07:01
Shhhhhhhhhh!

WLW is aweful. dont buy it.


Gary I expect a number of folks will eventually come to your conclusion.

You're right - no one should buy WLW, it really is terrible. I mentioned it only as a joke.

I know my mistake was not really considering what I like. For the most part, I prefer a high-rye mashbill, although I do like "some" wheaters (OWA 107 for example). But I'm not really a fan of lower-proof wheaters (like W12 - which I love to mingle with others, but not a huge fan of by itself). Probably had I given it more thought, I might have anticipated that I wouldn't have been nuts about it - and at least have talked myself into holding out to buy a bottle until I had at least tried someone else's!

The 2 parts W12 blend and 1 part OWA (with a spash of KCSB) sounds interesting, and I would imagine fairly close. When experimenting with the SB blend, I tried a 50/50 mix, and two versions of the 60/40 mix - finding I prefer the 60 OWA over the 60 W12. Hmm . . . maybe I should have throw in some OWA to my PVW20 to improve it! :lol:

Borchard
03-31-2013, 07:32
JPS 18 was the closest thing I found to my PVW20...UNTIL I was given a sample of Elijah Craig 20. It was wonderful! Im not as sanguine about EC 18. To me, it has all of the woodiness but WITHOUT the same sweetness, which makes it a little thin. I still like it, but just not as much.
i DID do a little blending last night. I mixed equal parts EC18 and Weller SR. Pretty good. Then I mixed pretty much equal parts EC18 and OWA. Even better IMHO

P&MLiquorsEric
03-31-2013, 08:01
JPS 18 was the closest thing I found to my PVW20...UNTIL I was given a sample of Elijah Craig 20. It was wonderful! Im not as sanguine about EC 18. To me, it has all of the woodiness but WITHOUT the same sweetness, which makes it a little thin. I still like it, but just not as much.
i DID do a little blending last night. I mixed equal parts EC18 and Weller SR. Pretty good. Then I mixed pretty much equal parts EC18 and OWA. Even better IMHO
Except Elijah Craig is not a wheated bourbon. The 20 year old was named whiskey of year and rightfully so.

hectic1
03-31-2013, 08:42
Except Elijah Craig is not a wheated bourbon. The 20 year old was named whiskey of year and rightfully so. The EC20 that was named whiskey of the year was a SB #3735 and only available at the gift shop. Other barrels of that didn't get nearly the same glowing reviews from what I remember...I wonder if John drove there or HH sent him on of those honey barrels! ;)

MyOldKyDram
03-31-2013, 08:46
The whiskey of the year barrel was available at some stores in Lexington too, at least. The labels were different than the regular release. Sat around here for quite awhile, actually. Never did grab one though, or even get to try it.

ETA: and of course I was wrong. Just checked and it was the general release bottle I saw. Nothing to see here.

bigtoys
03-31-2013, 08:54
Shhhhhhhhhh!


WLW is aweful. dont buy it.

can't resist a PvW thread. Perhaps it should be moved to the "Premium" section so it's not visible to the public/lurkers and they don't get the coveted advice.
For those who don't know, you have to be signed in to access that section.

squire
03-31-2013, 09:12
No need to shout bigtoys, we can hear you.

Borchard is correct though, after 18 years in the barrel the character of a Bourbon is so eclipsed by the effect of wood it's mashbill of wheat or rye may be completely disguised.

bigtoys
03-31-2013, 09:29
No need to shout bigtoys, we can hear you.

I always associate shouting with all caps. I just like a little bigger font for my 50+ year old eyes. Sorry.

squire
03-31-2013, 10:13
Then use a larger font by all means, I'll just turn my hearing aid down.

black mamba
03-31-2013, 20:50
I have had a few tastes of RHF that had some of the same qualities as PVW20, especially a tinge of banana cream pie on the fade.
I would think a splash of it along with the SB blend could be very close.

Borchard
04-01-2013, 09:04
Just wanted to add something; I'm flying through the Salt Lake airport, and I walked by a bar I noticed a Pappy bottle. SCRREEEEECH... SO I had to go in. And they actually had THREE different VW's! (12', 15, and 20) I inquired as to the prices and I was fairly surprised when she said they ranged from $15 to $28. The barkeep said that she was told they were one of only three bars in Utah to have VW