Labeling and reading it
I've noticed (from your discussions) that apparently some varieties of bourbons are brewed in more than one location? and also in different lots?
When I am shopping are there things that I'm looking for that indicate a better chance of a better bottle of bourbon? Or influence the value in terms of collectability or novelty? I'm not a collector, generally a drinker, but it is fun to have things that are a rare find!
Lastly, i recently bought a ORVW 15, the serial # is A9667, does this mean it is from lot A and that this is the 9667th bottle from that lot? Is there a way to know how many were in the lot?
Hmmm, this is kinda of a complex issue, as there is a lot of history involved here, but I'll try to simplify it a bit.
Many of the bottles that are talked about are older bottlings of current production brands. Some of these were brands that were owned and produced somewhere other than where they are currently produced. Some of these have had some major changes from past to present versions. I know of no current production bourbon that is made in more than one place(other than Jim Beam, who owns 2 plants that distill-but I believe even they to some extent use one plant or the other for certain brands, mostly), though it used to happen a bit in the past when a few big corporations owned several plants(but even these for the most part would produce one whiskey at one plant and another whiskey at another(about the only occurances, even then would have been bottom shelf stuff that would just take whatever was plentiful and bottle it).
One of the other occurances that you will read about a lot is when a private bottler has their source of whiskey change(as is happening now with the Van Winkle). In the case of VW the distillery that it was(and still is, in some cases) distilled at, was shut down, and the distilling was moved to another plant and to another plant yet again(of course this latest distillate is still aging, and we won't taste it in it's final form for several years).
As far as your ORVW 15(assuming it is ORVW 15 and not Pappy 15), Julian has said that the numbers on those labels mean basically nothing(unlike the numbers on the VWFRR and Pappy 23-I'm not sure about the numbers on the 20yo)
Thanks, every little bit of info helps!
I thought I had heard members make reference to a lot A and Lot B of ORVW 15. I must have been mistaken.
You may have seen "Lot B" in a slightly different context. There is a Van Winkle Family Reserve 12 y/o that bears the designation "Lot B". However, Julian has stated here (maybe in a PM, I'm not sure) that the designation doesn't mean anything.
IIRC, I asked whether there was ever a label that bore the designation "Lot A". His answer was no.
To sate, or perhaps stimulate, your interest in all things Van Winkle, go here. (It won't tell you about discontinued bottlings, though.)
So, basically the hand written number on the front label of ORVP 15/107 is just some kind of marketing ploy to make you think that somebody actually gives a hoot about this particular bottle. When in actuality is doesn't mean squat?
I would think it's more in the realm of a serial number - no specific meaning as to where it was distilled, just that it's a numbered bottle in a series of numbered bottles of that particular whiskey.