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  1. #1
    Connoisseur
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    Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 rye

    I found this post somewhere on another site. Any truth to it?
    If so, my bottle has an 'H' and then a 4 digit number.

    "The original Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 year old rye was released as such in bottles labeled with a number and followed by the letter "A." In subsequent years, as the whiskey was allowed to continue aging, it was released with the letters "B" and so forth. It eventually came to pass that the aging process was arrested at 19 years old, it was combined with another rye whiskey of the same age, and is still being released under the name Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 year old rye. The letter under which this, the "final release" began was, if memory serves me correctly, the letter "F."

    Prior to the letter "F", this would have been the original Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 year old rye, released under the same label, but in fact aging to about 18 years or so in the process. From what I understand, this has to do with having to register new labels for each state, pay each state's licensing fees, etc., so why print new labels and go through all that expense and hassle every year?

    I further understand that the proprietors of the label Van Winkle have begun processing of a new rye whiskey to be released under this mark when it reaches 13 years old, in order to have a steady supply of whiskey to be available for this label to remain part of the Van Winkle product stable.

    So, the "final release" of the Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 year old rye was a different animal indeed, from the original whiskey selected to bear that name, which is why the same label, albeit two different whiskeys, occupy my Top Ten Rye list. "

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 rye

    Sounds about right...there have been some discussions about that on this board as well...a search might even turn up Julian himself speaking on the matter.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 rye

    That's generally accurate. I did chase all these threads down at one point.

    The first bottling was in the late 90's and had the 'A' code. Each year after that the letter increases. At some point around 18/19 years Julian put the rye into stainless so it would stop aging. He's also got some 'new' rye by BT already aging. Once that reaches 13yo he'll start using it. He's rationing the 'old' rye to last until the 'new' rye comes of age.

    So yes, each letter code represents a year older up until 'G' or 'H' and then it is a constant. I'd love to try an earlier letter code to see how it has evolved...
    Mike

    "You're the best bourbon drinkers ever!" - Margo (waitress at Bourbon's Bistro in Louisville)

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2009 and Virtuoso
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    Re: Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 rye

    I think everything above is generally right too in that the current bottling is a blend of the original rye that was tanked and a seperate rye. 350 cases a year is the annual production until the new supply kicks in.

    Also, there was a release without any letter associated with it. I'd speculate this may have been the first release and then he started lettering each following release. I brought a bottle of this to the 2007 Sampler.

    Randy
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  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 rye

    Agreed all 'round. The separate rye was I understand Cream Of Kentucky from Bernheim (that has appeared on its own in various guises as Chuck has explained). The now defunct Old Time rye at 12 years was the same rye as the pre-mingling ORVW 13, except at a fixed 12 or maybe 13 years barrel age. The odd bottle can still be found on a shelf. It seems closest to the ORVW 13 when first bottled although some people felt it was different somewhat, this could be relayed to batching factors. Anyway, all fine whiskey. Counter-intuitively perhaps, it makes a great Manhattan and only minimal vermouth is needed.

    Gary

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 rye

    Agreed all 'round. The separate rye was I understand Cream Of Kentucky from Bernheim (that has appeared on its own in various guises as Chuck has explained). The now defunct Old Tyme rye at 12 years was the same rye as the pre-mingling ORVW 13, except at a fixed 12 or maybe 13 years barrel age. The odd bottle can still be found on a shelf. It seems closest to the ORVW 13 when first bottled although some people felt it was different somewhat, this could be related to batching factors. Anyway, all fine whiskey. Counter-intuitively perhaps, it makes a great Manhattan and only minimal vermouth is needed.

    Gary

  7. #7
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    Re: Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 rye

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeK View Post
    The first bottling was in the late 90's and had the 'A' code. Each year after that the letter increases. At some point around 18/19 years Julian put the rye into stainless so it would stop aging. He's also got some 'new' rye by BT already aging. Once that reaches 13yo he'll start using it. He's rationing the 'old' rye to last until the 'new' rye comes of age.

    So yes, each letter code represents a year older up until 'G' or 'H' and then it is a constant. I'd love to try an earlier letter code to see how it has evolved...
    I have a "B" series from 2000 and also an "H" series from 2006, if that helps nail down the dates.
    Joe
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  8. #8
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    Re: Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 rye

    I tried to search but had difficulty tracking this stuff down. Thanks for the info guys.

  9. #9
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    Re: Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 rye

    Does anyone know when the next expression will come out? I bought my only bottle of the VWFR Rye two years ago. It had a G on the label.
    "It hasn't cured my broken heart, but it sure helps a lot."
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  10. #10
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    Re: Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 rye

    Mine has an F on the label, though I'm not sure how to date it. It's by far the best rye I've ever tasted. Way to pick-em Julian!!!

 

 

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