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View Full Version : Old Rip Van Winkle 15 yr 107 proof *THE TRUTH*



brian12069
11-24-2004, 19:15
I see some talk on here regarding the the Old Rip Van Winkle 15 yr 107 proof. I know a lot of you have questions...I did too. Some time ago I was on the Van Winkle web site and noticed this bourbon was not listed any more (now packaged as Pappy Van Winkle) This is hands down my favorite bourbon, I love this stuff and my first thought was oh no...they have changed it. I emailed Julian Van Winkle himself and to my surprise he emailed me back. I saved a copy of the email and here it is...
"Brian:
We have repackaged our 15-year Old Rip Van Winkle into a new label,
Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve. The whiskey is the same except that
we hand-select only what we feel are the very best barrels for
bottling.
So don't worry. You can still enjoy this wonderful 15-year old bourbon.
Thanks very much for your business.
Where do you buy our whiskey?
Best regards,
Julian Van Winkle"

OK...its the same but now they "hand select" the very best barrels? so is it the same?...I don't know...I just hope it doesn't taste like that Pappy Stuff...I honestly didn't like it as much...

OneCubeOnly
11-24-2004, 19:27
It's really not that complicated. My understanding is that the barrels selected for the "Pappy" label are from the same generation of barrels that would have become ORVW 15yo, however, they've been "hand selected" as the ones who more closely fit the "Pappy" profile. In other words, same whiskey, different taste profile.

My question is, what happens to the ones that *DON'T* fit the "Pappy" profile!?

brian12069
11-24-2004, 19:30
this is EXACTLY what scares me...I don't want the Pappy Profile...

Gillman
11-25-2004, 04:57
I would think all the "regular" ORVW 15 year old 107 has been bottled. In other words, possibly they saved their best barrels of 15 year old for this "premium" bottling under the Pappy name (possibly also this Pappy is some years older than 15). I sampled the Pappy version in Bardstown at the Spirit Garden during the last Festival and thought it was outstanding. It had a mocha-like taste and softness, it seemed rounder than the ORVW 15 year old. Both are very good products and anyone who has a bottle of either should feel fortunate.

Gary

Ken Weber
11-25-2004, 11:11
Guys, I wouldn't worry about the taste of the bourbon. Julian has always personally selected the whiskey that goes into his various brands. Julian and I have talked about the taste of older whiskey and while my pallette is far less distinquished than his, I prefer bourbon around 12 years of age. Some folks like the more pronounced wood attributes in older whiskey - different strokes for different folks. The 15 year old remains an outstanding tasting whiskey!

Ken

cowdery
11-25-2004, 18:15
It's all essentially the same whiskey, Stitzel-Weller wheated bourbon. Problem is, that distillery closed in 1992 (or thereabouts, may have been '91) and the whiskey made there is just plain running out. The 15 year old should still be 15 years old, at least, but do the math. There just isn't much more of it in the pipeline. If Julian is smart, as I know he is, he will keep managing that dwindling inventory into his higher priced expressions. I don't know if anything in Van Winkle bottles now is actually Buffalo Trace wheated bourbon, which you can sample today in the Weller line, but eventually the Stitzel-Weller stock will be gone and it will all be from BT.

What does this mean?
<ul type="square"> If there is a Van Vinkle product you like, buy as much of it as you can afford. Buy it as soon as you can, from the same batch. Even though the Van Winkle products are not single barrel, they are small volume and a given bottling batch won't include that many barrels. Because the supply is dwindling, it will be harder and harder for him to match a given taste profile from batch to batch, because there won't be that many bottles from which to choose. Part of Julian's alliance with BT calls for him to try to bring BT's wheated bourbon closer to the Van Winkle "family recipe," and BT already makes a perfectly good wheated bourbon, but Stitzel-Weller whiskey is what it is and if that's what you want, get it now because it's like real estate. They aren't making any more of it. [/list]
Bottom line: If there is a Van Winkle product you particularly like, buy it now, tomorrow, don't wait.

squire
11-25-2004, 19:20
Good advice Chuck. Wish I'd loaded up on the Yellowstone Mellow Mash and Michter's when they were on the shelves locally. Didn't occur to us to do so at the time since they were so common. Then all of a sudden they were gone.

Regards,
Squire

cowdery
11-25-2004, 19:23
Like the old blues song says, "you never miss your water till the well runs dry."

doubleblank
11-26-2004, 07:02
The barrel I purchased from Julian's 12yo Lot "B" stock was distilled in March of 1992.....so SW was operating at that time. But the statements you made above are precisely why I went to Julian.....I wanted a barrel of Stitzel Weller bourbon selected by Julian for his products. And I was not disappointed in the results!

You're right...if you do the math.....how old is the 10yo/107 or where is it coming from? It's one of my favorites and was my first choice for a single barrel. But Julian preferred I select the 12yo as his 10yo was in shorter supply.

Randy

cowdery
11-26-2004, 08:28
how old is the 10yo/107 or where is it coming from?



I don't know the answer (I can only speculate), but that is precisely the right question.

I thought SW was still distilling in 1992 but I wasn't sure. Maybe someone who knows will tell us the exact date they stopped.

Gillman
11-26-2004, 11:32
Maybe it was tanked after 10-12 years of age. My recent tastings of the 10 (107 or the lower proof version) suggest a whiskey about that age.

Gary

shoshani
01-01-2005, 20:55
I don't know if anything in Van Winkle bottles now is actually Buffalo Trace wheated bourbon, which you can sample today in the Weller line, but eventually the Stitzel-Weller stock will be gone and it will all be from BT.




How long has BT been making wheated bourbon? If they started with their agreement with Julian, well...that was in 2002. None of that will show up in a Van Winkle bottling until at least 2012, if his youngest expression is ten years old. My guess is that there will be a phase where wheated Bernheim bourbon will be used during the transition period between Stitz and Buffalo Trace, if in fact some Bernheim is not being used already in the current 10YO ORVW.


Michael Shoshani
Chicago

cowdery
01-01-2005, 22:09
They have made wheated bourbon on and off for a long time. They made some under contract for United Distillers in the late '80s and early '90s.

shoshani
01-03-2005, 13:25
Interesting; that aspect of Buffalo Trace's production doesn't get mention in the Regan or Murray books.

Trade secrets and all that notwithstanding, I wonder how close BT can get to the Old Fitz profile. The Old Rip website has a few extracts from Sally Van Winkle Campbell's book But Always Fine Bourbon, and without disclosing the small grain content she says that Pappy's Old Fitz mashbill was 70% corn. According to Regan & Regan, the Bernheim wheated mashbill was 75% corn, so somewhere down the line it seems there has been a change. Undoubtedly Julian knows what his grandfather's mashbill was, but then there would be several other factors: the water (Pappy was proud of the six wells on the Stitzel Weller property, BT uses Kentucky River water); the aging process (BT may or may not have access to the old ironclad Stitzel Weller warehouses), and the distillation and barrelling proof, which was always a bit lower at Stitz.

For what it's worth, the bottle of 10YO 107 proof ORVW that I bought last week at Binny's (No 72377 , first bottle I've had for a good long time) tastes the same as I remember my last bottle; full of caramel and with a tad more complexity than its less expensive sibling Old Commonwealth. (I used to consider Old Commonwealth to be one of the best buys for the money, but can't find it now. I'm thinking that either it's been discontinued with the Buffalo Trace deal, or perhaps the brand itself belonged to the late Joe Congiusti and died with him.)

I always figured that Pappy brought the idea of wheated bourbon with him from Weller, but according the the book extract on Julian's site it was A. Ph. Stitzel who brought it to Pappy when the two distilleries merged. I really have to get a copy of that book; I didn't buy it five years ago when it was $25 because I didn't have the spare cash. Now it's over $40 and I still don't have the spare cash. I'll wait five more years until it hits $60, and then I'll buy it. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

By the way, it's nice to be back after a hiatus of several years; nice to see familiar faces and nice to see that, despite the obvious upgrades in the software, my old login still works!

Michael Shoshani
Chicago

jvanwinkle
01-03-2005, 14:12
My Dad monkeyed around with different mashbill percentages towards the end of our ownership at SWD. I've got sample bottles from the late 60's with all different kinds of grain percentages on the labels.70% corn was the norm though at SWD. And to the best of my knowledge, BT didn't start making Weller until fall 1998. So there will be about 6 years of Bernheim whiskey we will have to go through until we get to the BT wheated formula, which is the same as we used at Stitzel. Mike, I believe that bottle of 10-year Old Rip would have the Bernheim bourbon in there. I'm glad you liked it. It is diffferent. The Old Commonwealth is unfortunately all gone. We did not continue that label when I joined BT, even though I still own it. I offered it to Joe C. years ago at Sam's. He sold most of it here in the US. He just wanted a different label at a lower price so he could put his sticker on it. That whiskey was the same as my regular ORVW. It was great!
By the way, we've added a chapter to the "Pappy" book. It's available through the BT gift shop. And yes, it's $40.00.
Julian

shoshani
01-03-2005, 19:07
Julian wrote:



My Dad monkeyed around with different mashbill percentages towards the end of our ownership at SWD. I've got sample bottles from the late 60's with all different kinds of grain percentages on the labels.70% corn was the norm though at SWD.



I unearthed an article that quotes you giving Pappy's (and your) specifications for corn and wheat, leaving the reader to guess the barley malt content. The proportions quoted are very similar to the specs Pappy helped T. W. Samuels set up for Makers, but are quite different from the published Bernheim specs of 75% corn, 20% wheat, and 5% barley malt.

Then again, in my short Google searches for wheated bourbon, not everything has been clear or accurate. I found one site, cocktailtimes.com , that referred to the illustrious and colorful proprietor of the Stitzel-Weller Distillery as "P<font color="red">u</font>ppy" Van Winkle!

jvanwinkle
01-04-2005, 07:53
Yeah, that girl, Yuri, is Japanese that writes all the cocktails.com info, so I'm not surprised at the spelling. Maybe "Puppy" is Japanese for "Pappy"!

cowdery
01-04-2005, 13:37
Hi Hi Pappy Puppy Yum Yum.

nysquire
01-05-2005, 02:38
The ONLY thing I can say Julian, is keep up the great job.
We've enjoyed every bottle of Van Winkle thats been opened.
esp. the 20YO..... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

camduncan
01-05-2005, 14:16
The ONLY thing I can say Julian, is keep up the great job.
We've enjoyed every bottle of Van Winkle thats been opened.
esp. the 20YO.....



Ditto!
I've tried the 13yo Rye &amp; 10yo Bourbon...and both are real treats http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif
The 15yo is on my 'to order' list next time I get a shippment from the US http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

wrbriggs
01-11-2005, 12:17
Guys, I wouldn't worry about the taste of the bourbon. Julian has always personally selected the whiskey that goes into his various brands. Julian and I have talked about the taste of older whiskey and while my pallette is far less distinquished than his, I prefer bourbon around 12 years of age. Some folks like the more pronounced wood attributes in older whiskey - different strokes for different folks. The 15 year old remains an outstanding tasting whiskey!

Ken


I can vouch for that. I just received a bottle of Pappy 15 and it is delicious. Almost better than the 20. Makes me wonder if I should go on a road trip to try and find the 10 and 12 yr olds, as I'm sure they're also a great value for the $$.