We've had quite a bit of discussion lately on the latest release of Pappy 15 and there seems to be a consensus that it's significantly different from previous releases. For the fun of it, I decided to compare the Spring release of ORVW 10/107 to the Fall release. I wasn't expecting much of a difference since the juice for both releases is most likely the BT wheat recipe. Boy, was I surprised! My Spring ORVW was bottled on March 7 at 9:32 a.m. (if that matters) and the Fall was bottled on November 7 at 7:50 a.m. Here's what I gleaned from a blind tasting of the two. Keep in mind that my tasting vocabulary isn't well-developed:
Spring: The nose is very oakey with subtle caramel and pepper in the background. The nose carries over to the palate with some candied fruit and faint toffee underneath. It has a moderate finish with a light burn. A WSR sweetness becomes apparent in the finish revealing its BT source.
Fall: The nose is VERY sweet with lots of vanilla sugar and black tea. The palate is much lighter and strikingly similar to WSR. It has that candied cherry flavor of WSR with very little evidence of 10 years in oak. There's a little in the background, but not much. The finish is noticeably shorter with a lingering sugary quality.
My Spring bottle has been open since then, so I allowed the Fall glass to sit for the better part of the afternoon to allow for some oxidation. I don't know if that made any difference since I didn't taste it right out of the bottle.
I also tasted a little Weller 12 and WSR for comparison. The comparison confirmed the similarity of the Fall release to WSR. I also found the Weller 12 to be more balanced and equally enjoyable even at the lower proof.
If this is the direction in which they're going with ORVW, I don't really see any justification for spending the time or money on ORVW. Don't get me wrong, ORVW is very good but there's little to distinguish it from the Weller line. With Weller readily available for considerably less, why bother.
That's my take on it. I'm interested in what others here think.