View Full Version : questions about Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye

05-22-2008, 11:37
I've read a bunch of threads here about VWFRR in the last couple of weeks, and in the last few days have enjoyed the hell out of my first bottle of this great whiskey - my first straight rye.

I've read that the current releases (unlettered, A-I so far, etc) are a rationing out of what's left while Julian and crew cook up a new batch over at Buffalo Trace - which is still several years away. got it...

my questions about that are: since the current label reads "from Pappy Van Winkle's Private Stock" - is that literally true and therefore a reference to the existing limited stock? and if so, will it change to something like "from Julian Van Winkle's new batch" (whatever the correct wording would be) once the new juice is ready?

also, and I think this has been discussed but search returns for "distillery" are too broad, all of the VW labels I've seen read: "Bottled by Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery", but that's a sort of liberal use of "distillery" isn't it? I mean, for example, the new Rye is said t be cooking over at Buffalo Trace (distillery). why aren't these things more clear, it's not like it's something to hide. right?

in any case, this VWFRR is outstanding whiskey. consider me an instant fan. thank again to the SB membership for the tips.

05-22-2008, 14:11
You've hit on one of the things that mystifies me too. Maybe someone else can address the technical/historical reasons for this, but I find it plain irritating. For instance, there's no "Bulleit Distillery," yet (last I checked) that's what it says on the bottle, despite being distilled at Four Roses. This is a common practice. Why producers repeat the name of the bourbon as the distillery as well, when there's no such distillery, I don't understand. Maybe there's some legal issue involved?

I applaud the fact that at least one BT bourbon, GT Stagg, is listed on the back as Buffalo Trace Distillery, but Handy has "Sazarac" and WLW has "Weller & Sons."

I remember when I started drinking bourbon trying to find out who produced each bourbon (this was before I found sb), and being surprised at how difficult it was.

05-22-2008, 14:54
It is very doubtful that there will be a wording change on the VWFRR label, as label changes require quite a bit of paperwork/money, brand owners are not eager to point out changes in their products, etc.

Many of the things written on a label are just a part of the legacy of the brand. Damn few brands actually list the name of the distillery, but instead list one of the many d.b.a.'s owned by the distillery or the owner of the brand. Brands that don't own a distillery don't want to talk about that fact, and many of the best known brands today started out as bottlers who didn't own a distillery.

05-22-2008, 21:35
The "private stock" claim has always been fanciful so I doubt it will change.

The use of DBAs has one commercial purpose. Although distributors are well aware who makes what, most retailers are not, nor are most consumers. The concern is especially with retailers, who might be tempted to reduce a company's shelf space. It's not unique to American whiskey. For example, two or three auto parts companies make almost every oxygen sensor on the market, but they're sold under dozens of different brand names. How many different toothpastes or laundry detergents does Procter and Gamble make? In the case of P&G, you can find P&G somewhere on the package. Not so with the oxygen sensors, or with American whiskey. Part of it, historically, has been different channels of distribution wanting their "own" product. In some states, with liquor, distribution is by producer but in others it is by brand, so a producer might have several different distributors each selling different brands.

06-03-2008, 19:58
I've looked all over for a bottle of this and I've come up empty. I'm willing to work out an equitable trade or a straight up purchase if anyone is sitting an extra.

06-03-2008, 20:19
I picked up an i bottle for about 35 bucks at a local shop, not really knowing anything about it. I had intended to bring it to a friend's New Year's Eve party figure to use it up making Old Fashioneds for myself and a few friends. Some drama went down and I wound up leaving the party early, taking my bottle with me, 95% intact. I spent the rest of the night investigating it online. In fact, that is probably what led me here, and found that every online retailer had it for $75 and up. I spent that night, and the next night, carefully enjoying it. I went back to the shop that sold it to me and demanded that they procure more of it for me, a demand as of yet unsatisfied. So I keep it in my cabinet, occasionally enjoying it during what fleeting moments of contentment come my way.