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Vange

Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 rye

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Vange

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. "

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barturtle

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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MikeK

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...

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doubleblank

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

post-379-14489813208744_thumb.jpg

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Gillman

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

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Gillman

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

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BourbonJoe

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 :usflag:

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Vange

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

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jinenjo

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.

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mozilla

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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BourbonJoe

"F" would be 2004.

Joe :usflag:

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drli

Just picked up 2 bottles today with an I.

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MikeK

My buddy Art has a 'C' or 'D' (I forget which) bottle open right now. It tastes very different than the more recent bottlings. I has a very distinctive 60's/early 70's flavor to it, if you know what I mean. I've got a Preiss labeled bottle in the bunker, which I think is about the same vintage. At some point I'll have to open it to compare.

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Gillman

I think with, or after, F it became a mingling and the new component was (apparently - I'm not sure) some of that well-aged Cream of Kentucky rye that is the source, apparently again, of probably most of the recent bottlings of extra-matured straight rye (other than Rittenhouse 21 and 23 year olds).

Gary

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fussychicken

This question comes up so much and I get confused myself, so I hunted down all the posts and made what I think is the correct story. Let me know if you have any extra info.

post-2056-14489813509547_thumb.jpg

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barturtle
This question comes up so much and I get confused myself, so I hunted down all the posts and made what I think is the correct story. Let me know if you have any extra info.

Looks good, except the oldest BT rye stock (the current Saz Jr stuff) should now be about 9 years old...the VW could therefore be BT distilled stock in only 4 years. However Julian said in 2004 that they tanked a 13 year supply

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fussychicken
However Julian said in 2004 that they tanked a 13 year supply

That is what I was going with as well.

My hope is that Julian has been allowed to tinker with the formula and make his own version instead of just taking an older version of the Saz Jr. Don't get me wrong, I love Saz Jr and Thomas Handy, but I don't see what harm it would cause to have another unique type of rye whiskey in the market!

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Docholiday

Does anyone know where Hirsch 13 year old kentucky straight Rye fits in to this picture. I believe that Julian once said that he bottled it. Bottled in Lawrenceburg. Green tinted bottle and black wax top.

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barturtle
Does anyone know where Hirsch 13 year old kentucky straight Rye fits in to this picture. I believe that Julian once said that he bottled it. Bottled in Lawrenceburg. Green tinted bottle and black wax top.

Yes, he has said it was the same whiskey as the VWFRR. Same proof, same age as the VW-labeled stuff of the same vintage.

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barturtle
That is what I was going with as well.

My hope is that Julian has been allowed to tinker with the formula and make his own version instead of just taking an older version of the Saz Jr. Don't get me wrong, I love Saz Jr and Thomas Handy, but I don't see what harm it would cause to have another unique type of rye whiskey in the market!

Well what makes one whiskey different from another is mainly aging and selection. Every current bourbon on the market comes from about 15 mashbills or so. Rye mashbills that are currently in production number about 5 (WT, HH(via BF), BT, Barton, JB). There is a lot more that can be achieved through aging and selection with the current mashbills than is being done right now.

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Old Lamplighter

For the last few nights, I've been giving my "G" bottle of VWFRR another chance after the initial opening a few months back. I am growing more fond of it each evening. Maybe I am finally developing a bit of a taste for rye. Now, if I can just find that bottle of Rittenhouse BIB that I cracked open at the same time.....it should be even better as well.

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Slob

My bottle is I2087. I am mightily impressed with it.

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Old Lamplighter

I have been putting away several of the "I" bottles over the last few weeks. It is always in short supply wherever I go because so little is released each year. Like everything else, I am sure next year's "J" release will see a price increase. I sure wish I had put away some of it when I found it regularly under $30 just a few short years ago.

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Attila

I just bought No. 1053 in Japan today. No letters whatsoever.

Letters or no, it is an amazing drink.

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doubleblank

As I posted in another thread (and confirmed by Julian), the bottles in Japan w/o a letter prefix are from the original bottling when the whiskey was actually 13yo. The lettered ones are older whiskey.

Randy

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