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  1. #1
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    509

    Old Rip Van Winkle 15 yr 107 proof *THE TRUTH*

    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...

  2. #2
    Connoisseur
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    May 2003
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    621

    Re: Old Rip Van Winkle 15 yr 107 proof *THE TRUTH*

    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!?

  3. #3
    Connoisseur
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    May 2004
    Location
    Upstate NY
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    509

    Re: Old Rip Van Winkle 15 yr 107 proof *THE TRUTH*

    this is EXACTLY what scares me...I don't want the Pappy Profile...

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    9,122

    Re: Old Rip Van Winkle 15 yr 107 proof *THE TRUTH*

    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

  5. #5
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Frankfort, KY
    Posts
    499

    Re: Old Rip Van Winkle 15 yr 107 proof *THE TRUTH*

    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

  6. #6
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Burlington VT, USA
    Posts
    336

    Re: Old Rip Van Winkle 15 yr 107 proof *THE TRUTH*

    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 $$.

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,617

    Re: Old Rip Van Winkle 15 yr 107 proof *THE TRUTH*

    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.

  8. #8
    Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MS
    Posts
    12,327

    Re: Old Rip Van Winkle 15 yr 107 proof *THE TRUTH*

    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

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
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    12,617

    Re: Old Rip Van Winkle 15 yr 107 proof *THE TRUTH*

    Like the old blues song says, "you never miss your water till the well runs dry."

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2009 and Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Houston, Tx
    Posts
    1,798

    Re: Old Rip Van Winkle 15 yr 107 proof *THE TRUTH*

    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

 

 

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