Pappy Van Winkle has been rather popular for a couple of years now with prices soaring to ridiculous heights. Even the Family Reserve Rye 13 year old that Marco and I bought together about two years ago for about € 70 is going for triple that in auctions.
I am kind of regretting not buying it from DH17 when they had their ‘buy now’ thingy going on on Ebay, with this bottle going for € 65. The same goes for any other opportunity, but I’m not even sure I would have appreciated the rarity back then. Not sure the quality is worth the hype, but let’s dive in!
I got this sample from Shai A. in a recent ‘sample bomb’ as he calls it. There was another one and they were only labeled 1 and 2. For me to figure out which was which. Of course this would have been way too random, but in some Twitter conversations he had with Ansgar I figured one of the drams was the Pappy 15. 50/50 chance I got that one right.
Very warming with charcoal and toasted wood. Rather spicy and slightly hot at that. Wood spices. All this spicy stuff sends my mind directly towards rye. After a second I get pear peels, some coconut (the brown outside) and pepper.
Dry and sharp with hints of chili pepper. There’s sweetness behind this with furniture polish, mango and cloves. Pink peppercorns and oak after that. Again, my mind screams ‘RYE’.
The finish is a tad more fresh with maybe a touch of mint in it. Dry oak, spices, and tea.
This rye sensation that I was getting apparently was wrong. All the spices are usually associated with that, and not with a wheated bourbon, like Stitzel Weller’s Pappy 15. Strange, since the general consensus is that wheated bourbons are much more gentle and smooth, especially compared to high rye bourbons.
So, I am not able to grasp which of two random bourbons is a Pappy Van Winkle. I’m not sure I ever tried it before so I am not really ashamed of that. I’m just glad I got the chance before everything is gone to investors and speculators that drive the prices to even more ridiculous heights.
Oh, and in general, a verdict might be nice. It’s a really damn fine whiskey. Maybe not the best bourbon I’ve ever tried (popularity suggests otherwise…), but definetly up there. At least some of the hype is justified! The spices are lovely, the depth is great and all in all it just works.
Pappy Van Winkle 15, Stitzel Weller, 53.5%