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  1. #1
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    Chatting with Julian Van Winkle

    I just got off the phone with Julian Van Winkle and wanted to pass on two tidbits of good news.

    First, although I couldn't weasel the source of the VWR 13/12 out of him, he did tell me that he's got some 15 YO rye still aging in his warehouse in Lawrenceburg that's coming along very nicely. Not much of it, he said, but he'll be doing something with it one of these days. Hope we get our share and it doesn't all go to Japan!

    Second, good news for Hirsch fans. Van Winkle does the bottling for the Hirsch bourbons and he told me that there is "plenty" of the 16 YO still in the tanks. They just ran off a new bottling last week with a new label noting some of the outstanding reviews and awards this excellent Pennsylvania bourbon has won. Thank God, I say. This gives Bushido and I more time to buy lottery tickets: Michter's is still waiting!

    Lew Bryson
    Hirsch Reserve 16 YO: Real Pennsylvania Bourbon

  2. #2
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    Guest

    Hirsch 16 Reserve available

    Hi Lew,

    Sam's WW had plenty of this on the shelves. It could be a new shipment, I don't know because Joe C. was off work the day I went in. Price has remained constant, $50 (as opposed to $75 in the 'burbs).

    I didn't notice any new labelling, but I didn't look closely either since I've got several unopened in the vaults right now. I stocked up with the first bottling not knowing if any more was coming down the pike ever. I'll look again this weekend when I venture into the city. Also, I've got Delilah's scoped out.

    Cheers,
    Bushido


  3. #3
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    Re: Chatting with Julian Van Winkle

    Do you know where the "Old Commonwealth" bourbon that they sell at Sam's in Chicago comes from? It has been speculated that it is from Van Winkle. Guess I'll have to ask Joe C. about that...

    The Old Commonwealth is a 10 year, 107 proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. From what I know about Van Winkle, there is a 10 year at 90 proof, and a 15 year at 107 proof. Could the Old Commonwealth be a 107 proof version, i.e. less watered down of the 10 year old Van Winkle?

    I noticed that there are a few Sam's shoppers out there. Anyone have any comments about the Old Commonwealth that they sell there? It costs $20 a bottle, and seems to me to be a very good bourbon, especially for that price. I am not an expert taster, so I can't describe the flavour very well in words, but it does seem to have a very distinctive character that I enjoy very much.

    -Bill



  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,603

    Re: Chatting with Julian Van Winkle

    I always assumed "Old Commonwealth" was VanWinkle's since Commonwealth is one of the names under which his Lawrenceburg site once operated. I have no other basis than that.

    Historically, Van Winkle has gotten his bourbon from his family's old place, Stitzel-Weller, which has been closed for several years and is now on the block. He may still be using Stitzel whiskey, but that will run out eventually. He, obviously, won't tell where he gets it, but I am pretty confident of my sources on this.

    As for "aging," the last time I was by his place he didn't have any warehouses, at least not there, at least none with aging whiskey in them. (One was recently demolished and the other was falling down and full of garbage.) Unless he has some barrels stacked in some corner of the bottling house, or is renting warehouses somewhere else, or has built a warehouse in the last couple years, his reference to "his" warehouses may be just a euphemism.

    When there's Old Weller Antique (7 yrs./107 proof) to be had for $16, why buy any other wheated bourbon?

    - chuck


  5. #5
    **DONOTDELETE**
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    Re: Chatting with Julian Van Winkle

    Well, Bill, I'll tell ya... When I called Van Winkle's offices today to get hold of Julian, they told me he was "at the distillery" and asked me if I had that number. They gave it to me, I called it, and a woman at the other end answered "Commonwealth!"
    Conclusions are left as an exercise for the student.


    Lew Bryson
    Hirsch Reserve 16 YO: Real Pennsylvania Bourbon

  6. #6
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Chatting with Julian Van Winkle

    >When there's Old Weller Antique (7 yrs./107 proof) to be had for $16, why buy any other wheated bourbon?

    I have not tried that one. Do they have it at Sam's?

    What about the W.L. Weller Centenial? Is that a wheated bourbon too?

    -Bill



  7. #7
    Novice
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    24

    Re: Chatting with Julian Van Winkle

    Lew, next time you chat with Van Winkle, tell him I love him! The 15 y.o. bourbon is perfection, IMHO.
    On the other hand, if he bottles 15 y.o. rye and ships it all out of the country, our love affair is OVER!
    --Jeff Frane


  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,603

    Re: Chatting with Julian Van Winkle

    Everything in the Weller line is wheated, as are Old Fitzgerald, Old Rip Van Winkle and Maker's Mark. I was disappointed by the Weller Centennial, especially for the price. For the best combination of quality and value, you can't beat the Weller Antique. It's even in that cool, gold veined, barrel shaped bottle Stitzel-Weller also used for the justly legendary Very Very Old Fitzgerald. I get it at Gold Standard Chalet on Clark Street, which is more convenient to me than Sam's, but I'm sure Sam's has it too.

    - chuck


  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,603

    Re: Chatting with Julian Van Winkle

    BTW, I heard from Julian today. He apparently visits this forum, saw my note, and wanted me to know that he does, indeed, have a 200' x 50' warehouse at the Commonwealth Distillery site in Lawrenceburg. I stand corrected.

    Wouldn't it be great if he would actually join and contribute to the forum? I'm sure we'd all like to take advantage of his knowledge and experience.

    - chuck


  10. #10
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Chatting with Julian Van Winkle

    That WOULD be great!

    JULIAN!! Come play with us! <g>



    Lew Bryson
    Hirsch Reserve 16 YO: Real Pennsylvania Bourbon

 

 

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