Whisky Advocate

What’s In That Bottle Of Van Winkle Anyway?

June 11th, 2012

A few weeks ago, when I posted my review of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15 year old here, a big discussion ensued about the source of this whiskey (and other Van Winkle expressions). I noted at the time that the comment thread on my review was neither the time nor place to discuss something as in-depth as this. I wanted to focus on the quality of the whiskey, not the politics behind it.

We approached the person who we feel knows as much about the subject as anyone, Whisky Advocate contributor Chuck Cowdery. He went directly to Julian Van Winkle for the facts, and here’s his report.

It’s no secret that the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery isn’t a distiller. It’s a marketing company, and a brand, run by Julian Van Winkle III and his son, Preston, with partners the Sazerac Company.

Van Winkle, as a brand name, was retained by the Van Winkle family when Julian’s father sold the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in 1972. Julian took over after his father died. The company continued to operate as a non-distiller producer, mostly selling whiskey made at Stitzel-Weller, which stopped distilling twenty years ago.

About ten years ago, with whiskey from Stitzel-Weller no longer available, the Van Winkles entered into a joint venture with the Sazerac Company to secure a future supply. Sazerac’s Buffalo Trace Distillery made wheated bourbon sporadically between 1991 and 1999, and in earnest after 1999. When Sazerac acquired the W. L. Weller brand in 1999, it received stocks of wheated bourbon made at the new Bernheim distillery between 1992 and 1999.

That’s where things stand now.

Because the Van Winkle whiskeys are so rare, esteemed and costly, there is always a great deal of interest in where they were made. Sources changed over the years and it can be hard to keep up. It is impossible for anyone, even the Van Winkles, to say with certainly what any given bottle contains, though except for the rye, everything in recent years has been Buffalo Trace, Bernheim, or Stitzel-Weller, individually or in combination. They create a profile prior to bottling, based on what they have available and how much whiskey they need, then dump barrels accordingly.

Here, specifically, is the make-up for the upcoming (Fall 2012) bottling. This information comes directly from Julian Van Winkle.

The Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye has long been a 50/50 combination of Medley (Owensboro) and Cream of Kentucky (old Bernheim in Louisville) rye whiskey. The whiskey was all dumped into stainless steel tanks years ago. Each fall, some of it is withdrawn and bottled.

This fall’s Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year old will be wheated bourbon made entirely at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort.

Van Winkle Family Reserve 12 year old (‘Lot B’) will be a mixture of wheated bourbons made at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort and the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville.

Pappy Van Winkle 15 year old will be a mixture of wheated bourbons made at Buffalo Trace, Bernheim, and Stitzel-Weller; every bottle will contain some whiskey from each distillery.

Pappy Van Winkle 20 year old and Pappy Van Winkle 23 year old will be a mixture of wheated bourbons made at Buffalo Trace and Stitzel-Weller.

Eventually, as current stocks are depleted, everything will become Buffalo Trace.

–Chuck Cowdery

No Responses to “What’s In That Bottle Of Van Winkle Anyway?”

  1. Joshie says:

    Chuck & John, thanks for giving us the straight dope.

  2. George Scott says:

    Outstanding. A succinct answer. Many thanks!

  3. Archaeology Carl says:

    Awesome! Thanks for the details. I like good bourbon, regardless of where it is coming from, but this is really useful information to have. When rumors get started, ie. “its the last from S/W” , then the desire to purchase a bottle of that rare product can be greater. What you provided removes some of the hype, and lets the buyer make an informed decision. Even if its not soley S/W, I consider it good bourbon worth buying.

  4. Gary says:

    Yes. I echo the thanks. Good information. Still, in the end…good whiskey is good whiskey!

  5. Scott Stursa says:

    “Sazerac’s Buffalo Trace Distillery made wheated bourbon sporadically between 1991 and 1999, and in earnest after 1999.”

    Okay, so the oldest of that would be 21 years old.

    “Pappy Van Winkle 20 year old and Pappy Van Winkle 23 year old will be a mixture of wheated bourbons made at Buffalo Trace and Stitzel-Weller.”

    So there’s BT whiskey in 23yo PVW, despite the fact that they’ve been producing wheated bourbon for only 21 years.

    Well, I guess it’s possible. My wife, who was born the same year as myself (waaay before 1983) is only 29 years old!

    • John Hansell says:

      What a coincidence. Your wife is the same age as mine. :)

      We are looking into the math discrepancy on the Pappy 23 and will respond when Julian gives us the answer.

  6. Ryan says:

    Wow, what’s everyone going to talk about on the blogs this year now that this is so clear? ;-)

  7. What’s in the bottles I bought 2 years ago ?? :-)

    Steffen

  8. Pat says:

    now this topic can be put to bed. thanks john/chuck/julian.

  9. Jack says:

    Interesting. Thanks for the research!

  10. Anyone ever tasted single malt matured in ex-Stitzel-Weller casks. It’s really awesome ?

    Steffen

  11. woodisgood says:

    It would be so lovely if at least 20 percent of the people “outraged” that PVW 15 and 20 has BT juice in it decided to no longer buy them. MORE FOR ME. :D

  12. According to Julian, the Pappy 23 for the next several years is already in bottles and it’s all SW. The next time they bottle it, there will be BT in it. The next bottling of Pappy 20 will include BT. The Bernheim juice in the mix is just from that 1992-1999 window, so it’s 13- to 20-years-old now. Personally, I’m a Lot B guy and it has continued to be great and, to my taste, virtually unchanged since the SW went out of the mix, so I think the future is bright for the line. The drinking of the last SW, when that day comes, will be notable but not tragic.

    • John Hansell says:

      Thanks Chuck. One question: If there’s several years of S-W Pappy 23 already bottled, is it the same for Pappy 20? Or will there be bottling new Pappy 20 this fall with BT in it?

    • RN says:

      Chuck, I believe your optimism–that the future will be bright for the Van Winkle line–is a perspective many folks haven’t seen the wisdom of. Seems to me that the fans fretting over the provenance of VW bourbon haven’t been seeing the forest for the trees: how fortunate they’ve been that the Van Winkle’s and Sazerac formed their partnership in the first place. What would VW fans be discussing if that hadn’t happened?? I’m glad we aren’t having such conversations.

      • Jason Pyle says:

        What is so funny for me is the fervor over the SW whiskey coming to an end. It’s as though people forget that perhaps the best and most capable distillery in the world(Buffalo Trace) is actually producing the future releases. I am a big fan of SW whiskey, but I don’t think I would ever say its better than BT’s best stuff. With more age/time there is plenty of reason to be optimistic.

        • Mary says:

          That is what I think too. I would pick a Stagg or a Sazerac (Antique Collection) any day over the SW if I could only choose one. Yes, the SW is very good but I think there are even better whiskey days ahead with BT in charge.

  13. Jamie says:

    I no longer buy them because I can no longer find them. I guess it’s Weller and Buffalo for me.

  14. gary says:

    Just visited StitzelWeller a couple of weeks ago. It is being turned into a museum and visitor center for Bulleit.

  15. Only the 23 is already bottled. The others, including the 20, will be bottled and released this fall. One thing I think that’s hard for people to grasp is how small this brand really is, especially at its upper reaches. Even for BT’s hand bottling lines it’s a small run. We not only don’t know how many barrels of SW there are left, we don’t know how much whiskey is in them. And a 20-year-old barrel of BT juice will have the same issues. The barrels don’t have level gauges on them. You only find out how much you have when you dump them. All these factors are why the answers aren’t as satisfyingly simple as we’d like them to be.

  16. Yannis Themelis says:

    Hi, John, Chuck,

    As a PVW fan, very informative. Cheers.

  17. HP12 says:

    John (or anyone in the know),

    Can you confirm that Van Winkle products will only be released in the fall beginning in 2012 and that the 2012 spring release was the final spring release of VW?

    Also, are they or aren’t they discontinuing ORVW10/90?

    Thanks in advance for the insights.

  18. Mr Manhattan says:

    Thanks for all this great information. I’m going to keep a copy of this at the bar to show folks who come in asking after Pappy.

  19. mongo says:

    so, if i understand correctly, the key difference between different yearly iterations of some/most of these lines is how long the whiskey has been sitting in a stainless steel vat. and perhaps not even that? it’s the releases that are annual, not the vattings or even the bottlings?

    • PS says:

      mongo, only the rye is tanked. some bottlings have appeared with later releases (e.g. ’09 bottles of 15yr appeared in ’10 and ’11), and it sounds like they have bottled a few years of the 23yr at once.

      to answer your questions: the releases have been biannual, the ‘vattings’ change (as described by chuck above. presumably the product has been of consistent quality), and some bottles from previous years show up in later allocations.

      I think I got that right. I don’t want to throw any more bs out there.

  20. I know of no impending changes to the line nor anything about discontinuing spring releases, and know of no reason why either should take place.

  21. tmckenzie says:

    I have never really gotten into the whole Van Winkle thing like a lot of folks do. One thing is my liver will not digest whiskey that costs that damn much. I do treasure the S-W juice I have, it is good whiskey, and I think BT will and must be doing a fine job of copying it.

  22. Lew Bryson says:

    Great coverage, Chuck, and thanks. I enjoy PVW when I get it — though I’m of the opinion that the 15 YO is the pick of the litter — but I’ve given up looking for it (and no, I don’t get freebies on this one). Too many great whiskeys are on the shelf every day to worry about it. I’ll leave that to the collectors.

  23. Bob Siddoway says:

    Who cares what’s in it? It’s delicious!!! But actually, I’ve always thought the Lot B was a bit overrated. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good stuff, just not great like some of the other VW’s.

    • RN says:

      Bob, if you travel or dine out much keep an eye peeled for private, single barrel, restaurant/bar selections of 12yr VW. There’s a few out there and those I’ve tried have been unreal. If you see a bottle of Lot B at a fine restaurant/bar with a sticker beneath the label that says “hand selected for ***** by Julian Van Winkle… sit down and have a drink!

      • Bob Siddoway says:

        Thanks for the heads up, RN! I’ve seen Lot B at a few restaurant/bars, but never looked to see if they were private selections. I will have to be on the lookout so I can give it a try. Thanks again!

  24. Rick says:

    Wait! So I paid $120+ for a bottle of Buffalo Trace just to have it packaged in a Pappy van Winkle 20 yr old bottle?

  25. I think a general principle is worth repeating here and I’m not directing this at any individual on this thread or elsewhere. It’s just something good to keep in mind. Just because you don’t know something, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a secret. It has never been a secret that Sazerac and thus Van Winkle has three sources for wheated bourbon: Stitzel-Weller bourbon made until 1992, Bernheim bourbon made between 1992 and 1999, and Buffalo Trace bourbon made after 1991. You just have to look at a calendar to know that the SW stocks are running out and the others are taking their place. This has never been a secret and the Van Winkles and the Sazerac folks have never misrepresented any of it to me.

  26. BarrelChar says:

    Why wasn’t Buffalo Trace’s Master Distiller, Harlen Wheatley, interviewed for this article? His statements to two members of a different forum launched this controversy, particularly his contention that the PVW 20 (and possibly 23) were mixed with BT wheated juice contract-distilled in the 1980s, and the Van Winkle Rye was no longer the tanked CoK/Medley but now a 13-year BT-distilled rye. By merely interviewing the Van Winkles–who were unlikely to contradict their previous statements–but not Mr. Wheatley, we have half of an article. It solves very little.

    • John Hansell says:

      Right. So, before we put up this blog post, we should have read every whiskey forum comment, whiskey blog, whiskey magazine, whiskey website, Facebook page, tweets, videos, etc., all posted by anonymous people who we may or may not be able to trust and consider what they have been told?

      Or, we could just go directly to Julian Van Winkle and ask him exactly what’s in his whiskey, which is what we did. It sure seems a lot simpler. That’s good enough for most of us here.

      Let’s maintain some perspective here. This is about whiskey (and a very tiny amount of it which most people will never even see), not a quest for world peace.

      • Tadas says:

        In journalism, all sides would be interviewed not only one side. Journalists dig for the truth until they find it . Now I would like to see more clarification from Harlen Wheatley. After all he is one of the producers, while Van Winkles are bottlers.

        • Andrew says:

          This was just a blog entry by Chuck discussing what will be, not what was. If you are looking for conspiracy theories perhaps you could contact the NY Post as you will not find them here. Now, “move along, nothing to see here.” Next topic, please.

          • John Hansell says:

            Amen to that, brother!

          • Tadas says:

            The problem with all this is one sided interview. Why didn’t Chuck also interview master distiller who actually makes the product? Did not seem too difficult since Chuck knows Harlen. Kind of glaring omission if you go declare that you found the truth :D

          • Jason Beatty says:

            I hear ya. Enough with the paparazzi antics. And BT already knows who is behind the masks.

      • Jason Beatty says:

        John, I don’t know how you remain calm when you wake up with all this graffiti. I’m thinking I should just buy you and Chuck’s writings to get away from all this attempted sabotage of a media source.

  27. BarrelChar says:

    Harlen Wheatley has a phone number and email address. You, Chuck, or somebody at your magazine could call him up and talk for five minutes to clarify his prior statements that directly contradict the Van Winkles’ version of events. It wouldn’t be an onerous obligation. But as your post indicated, you’d prefer to ask one side (the Van Winkles), call that “the truth” and end it there.

    And frankly John, I’m disappointed you’d use that kind of hyperbolic reductio ad absurdum to defend the article’s glaring omissions. “Gee, why don’t I interview every human who ever lived?” And that line about “world peace”? Totally unnecessary. You’ve chosen to cover this, so why not do it properly? PVW is the hottest name in bourbon and to many enthusiasts (your readers), the origins of the whiskey and veracity of the bottler matter. Yes, Bernheim and BT make some killer wheated juice. That’s not the point.

    You didn’t show any interest in this story when it broke months ago; and when I emailed you about it at the time, you said you could ask about it, but you weren’t going to. It was only after the controversy spread to your PVW 15 review that you finally relented and released Chuck’s half-measure article.

    Perspective is great–yes, this is only whiskey, not life and death. But the fact remains: Harlen should have been interviewed. His statements fundamentally contradict the Van Winkles’ version of events. A curious person would ask, “Who is right?” Others would merely ask one side and declare the issue dead, lest they step on the the wrong industry toes.

    • John Hansell says:

      I assigned Chuck the story. I trust Chuck. He interviewed Julain Van Winkle, the owner of the company, who I also trust. The answers to the questions of what is going into Pappy whiskey are right here in Chuck’s write-up.

      I don’t know–and frankly don’t care–what happens or happened on any other forums or blogs, so I really don’t care what Harlan supposedly said on one of them. We are done here.

      • In addition, I worked (as I always do) through the PR department at Buffalo Trace. They could have gotten Harlen involved. Harlen knows what is being discussed, he is aware of this so-called ‘controversy,’ has been from day one. He knows me. If he has something to add, he’ll add it. Harlen Wheatley and Julian Van Winkle are not on different sides, they are on the same side. As I said ‘over there,’ not for nothing is hearsay evidence generally not admissible in court. It’s also not admissible in responsible journalism.

        • Tadas says:

          Chuck, so why did not you ask Harlen yourself? You are the journalist who wrote this article. It is your job and responsibility to get a story from all sides and not wait for involved parties to approach you.

          Harlen is the other side in thos case since his words contradicted Van Winkles.

          • Your pronouncements about journalism are simply uninformed. Harlen is part of the Van Winkle team. He has the opportunity to comment personally if he wishes to. As I said earlier, hearsay generally is not admissible in court, nor in responsible journalism. You’re not asking me to ‘interview’ Harlen, you’re asking me to ask Harlen to respond to hearsay, and that I will not do.

          • Tadas says:

            Chuck, you are twisting into pretzels and keep refusing to interview Harlen. Can you just interview Harlen and it will not be hearsay anymore. Your refusal to interview him means you are one sided – not a trait of real journalism.
            Harlen is not part of Van Winkles team. Van WInkles have a contract with Buffalo Trace but it does not make Buffalo Trace owned by Van Winkles company.

          • Jason Beatty says:

            With this kind of obsessive behavior, it’s no wonder Harlen hired big muscular dudes to give the tours.

          • Tadas says:

            Are you one of them? ;)

      • Jason Beatty says:

        John, thanks for stepping in. I think some folks need to get out of the basement and try working 60 hours a week because they are not spending their sober time sufficiently.

  28. Steve A. says:

    OK, reading through this comment thread, I just got pissed again and have to vent, so here goes… for the last 10 or so years, I have enjoyed the Old Rip Van Winkle 90 and 107 10YO and the 12YO Lot B very frequently and believe it or not, I go back far enough with it that I still have 1/2 bottle of ORVW 15 107 (NOT PAPPY 15, mind you) in the back corner of my whiskey cabinet from maybe 15-17 years ago (obviously SW). About 3-4 years ago, a manager at Binny’s told me that the Lot B was getting scarce, so I actually got scared and bought a case and put it down in storage. Over those 3-4 years, I always saw MANY bottles of the Lot B on the Binny’s shelves, so I drank my case up one by one (also picking up a bottle now and then from the store). NOW, when I go to replenish, I can’t even get a single bottle of ORVW 10 YO 90 or 107 proof which used to fill the BOTTOM shelf at Binny’s and was ALWAYS there when I wanted a bottle or two. I get the whole mystique and aura around the age-ed Pappy’s but come on – the ORVW used to be overlooked by just about EVERYONE. Not to sound arrogant (I know it will), but all the Johnny-Come-Latelys have really ruined the whole Van Winkle brand and actually I think I’m done. I have one bottle of the older Lot B left in storage and 2 bottles of Pappy 15 in a box in the basement and now I’m tired of the big search and jumping through hoops for Julian Van Winkle’s marvelous marketing machine. It’s Old Fitz (bonded) and Old Grand-Dad (bonded) for me from now on. Thanks to all of you for saving me thousands on my whiskey bills and you can enjoy one less competitor for the precious juice (it lives now only in my memories). Oh and I guess I can always dip into the two cases of AH Hirsch 16 YO I have in storage as well if I feel the need for something “noteworthy”.

    Cheers.

  29. sam k says:

    Wow. I’ve never seen a thread on this blog degenerate to such a degree over, essentially, nothing. I’m filing this under the “Get a Life” category.

    You have my sympathies, John and Chuck.

  30. Ethan Smith says:

    I’ll second Sam. Boy am I glad I sit in my little corner and drink my VW rye and could care less about the bourbons!

    To all the cracked-out S-W fanatics: Wait a few more years until the S-W bourbon is all gone from current bottlings! Being a Michter’s (Pennsylvania) guy, imagine how hard it is for me to find ANY of their liquids today for less than $500 a bottle. The day is coming for you- S-W junkie! Start getting nervous! Start hoarding! Freak out on all the forums! The sky! The sky! It’s falling!!

    Seriously- John, Chuck, you guys answered the questions in a straight, no-bones-about-it manner. If people can’t accept this, that’s on them, not you. Keep up the great work!

    • sam k says:

      Funny stuff, Ethan. It really does seem like a fanatic cult, doesn’t it?

      It’s only whiskey…

      • Ethan Smith says:

        Totally. I had a great laugh as I read the comments. This runs parallel to the automotive world where every man seems to know more than anyone else and they like to sit at home and shout about it behind the security of their computer screen.

        Let’s just all be thankful that the VanWinkles and Buffalo Trace have been this transparent and willing to share. They, after all, could withhold ALL the specifications and information.

        In the meantime, I think I’ll have another swig of rye….

  31. John Hansell says:

    Okay everyone, I think we beat this subject to death and the comments are drifting into into unproductive territory. Let’s all move on.

  32. mashbill says:

    What’s wrong with free speech, John?

  33. StraightNoChaser says:

    John, what Chuck calls hearsay, I call a distinct memory. And the statements made by Harlan in Dallas were confirmed by another witness. I assume you haven’t read the post I made about that meeting, it’s worth researching in my opinion. Granted, I was there and you were not, so you’re fully obliged to be skeptical. But while I may not be the proprietor of a large whiskey publication, I am a devoted bourbon lover and very familiar with the subject. I also have zero interest in generating falsities for the sake of causing a stir or drawing attention to myself.

    “Harlen knows what is being discussed, he is aware of this so-called ‘controversy,’ has been from day one. He knows me. If he has something to add, he’ll add it. Harlen Wheatley and Julian Van Winkle are not on different sides, they are on the same side.”

    Which is exactly why he won’t comment. /They are on the same side./ If what he told us in Dallas was true, he would potentially damage the VW brand by confirming it publicly and destroying the mystique (which is driven mostly by the internet’s long held assumptions). It’s hard to believe he misspoke, as we asked for clarification a 2nd time after trying to process the bomb he just dropped on us. And of course if he WAS wrong, then reneged on his previous statements, what would that do for his reputation as a master distiller? I understand he cannot be everywhere at once, and likely there are some things he is not in control of or aware of, but how else could he make such confident statements if he wasn’t in direct knowledge of those facts? And if he wasn’t in direct knowledge, why would he even make such statements?

    Personally, I suspect he had no idea his words would spread virally through the online bourbon communities. It’s so convenient that, according to a previous post by Chuck on StraightBourbon.com, Harlan “doesn’t remember” making those statements in Dallas. Well, yeah, if I fed the someone the wrong information, and it was causing a big stink, I’d probably hold my tongue as well and leave damage control to the marketing teams (the VWs). It’s the easiest way to remove himself from the drama and discredit anyone who claims he said otherwise.

    So far it seems they have done a decent job of covering up what he said to us. They’ve found a way to satisfy the enthusiast crowd’s curiosity – giving us trinkets of information that appear to be in line with the purported scenario – without fully admitting everything or directly responding to allegations regarding the provenance of the whiskey.

    I must submit, as complementary evidence, Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye. I doubt many people have had the opportunity to sample several different releases at once, side by side.

    The Myth: Current releases of VWFRR are a 50/50 blend of 18/19 year old Cream of Kentucky and Medley rye, which was dumped into stainless steel around the “G” release of this bottling several years ago. It has been maintained that no other distillates are in the blend. However, since I didn’t see these words coming out of Julian’s mouth, I’m going to chalk it up to hearsay :-)

    The Claim by Harlan: As of now the VWFRR is all or mostly BT distilled 13 year old rye and BT has been providing the rye whiskey to the VWs for a couple years.

    The calendar math isn’t perfect, but for the sake of this argument I’m willing to assume that BT was distilling rye in the late 90s. I can’t find any information that confirms or contradicts this right now.

    The Taste: Having directly compared a “G” bottling (circa 2005) of VWFRR to a newer “B” bottle (2011) I can tell you with explicit confidence that there is a huge differentiation in their profiles, and not the kind of change I would expect from aeration in stainless steel. They are without two completely different whiskeys, with the latter fitting the green, sour wood profile of BT more than anything else. We were also fortunate to have an “A” bottling, purchased around 2010, join this tasting, and it tasted like a vatting of the G and B bottlings, leading me to believe they slowly (over 1 or 2 years) phased out the older distillates by topping it off with newer whiskey.

    Conclusion: I believe what Harlan said, at least most of it, to be entirely true. I actually suspected there was BT distillate in the VWFRR well before I met him, so all he did was confirm that notion to me. No surprise. That being said, I still adore the VWFRR as a BT distillate, I’m not knocking on it whatsoever. If BT is in fact producing this whiskey, I’d be proud of them as I normally don’t enjoy their products. Hopefully in the coming years there will be more of this delicious juice around for everyone to savor.

    I completely intend for this to be a respectful post and I am not trying to take stabs at anyone on here, just present my understanding of the facts. I hope that it has, at the very least, inspired a few of you to be more skeptical and not blindly believe everything you read (from distilleries or representatives of brands). Obviously, in some cases, they have a vested interest in guarding the provenance of their products.

  34. mongo says:

    so, now it seems that if chuck had in fact asked harlan wheatley–as you are insisting he should have–he would not have repeated what he apparently told you. what then would chuck learn or add to his account? better to spend your energy having a grand jury set up and subpoenas issued. until then you’re not going to get anywhere with this (even if your account of your conversation with harlan wheatley is absolutely correct).

    • StraightNoChaser says:

      I haven’t insisted that Chuck do anything. It wouldn’t do me any good.

      • mongo says:

        fair enough. but here have been others upstream who have.

        i’m not sure what more chuck could have done. i think it is reasonable to think that the proprietor of a brand (whose name is on the bottle) is a good source of information on what’s in the bottles. i don’t think there’s any good reason for him to have felt the need to cross-check the information with someone else (and you yourself concede that if followed up with in that way harlan wheatley would probably “get back on message”).

        all of this being said, i think it would be a good thing for malt advocate (and like publications) to not just reproduce the industry line but also go back and follow up with questions that may come up after the fact. it does not have to be done combatively. and who knows, maybe if this issue had not been raised combatively here (by barrel char and tadas) they (john and chuck) would have been more receptive to it.

  35. Tim D says:

    I was there with StraightNoChaser here in Dallas when Harlen told us what he did.

    He was very clear and factual, and among our group of 4-5 whiskey lovers we must have asked him to clarify certain points 3-4 times. Each time he spoke more definitively to the “facts” as he presented them – he actually grew frustrated with us because we were, frankly, aghast at what he told us.

    He was nice, he was sober, he was lucid and concise – there wasn’t “wiggle room” – he flat out told us the facts as they’ve been presented on Straightbourbon.com (I won’t rehash them here).

    I don’t believe anybody is lying. I just feel confident that not everybody knows exactly what is going on during every step of the production process. Marketing, distribution – and production – don’t always have each others’ backs.

  36. Josh Scott says:

    Thanks for the article John and Chuck. I found it very informative and interesting.

    John, did you get a chance to speak with Julian yet on the math discrepancy that Scott pointed out? I’m interested to hear his response.

    Thanks again guys. Always appreciated.

  37. [...] have gotten a bit serious here of late, what with all the Van Winkle Bourbon source talk and the Bruichladdich sell-out discussions. So, to balance this with a less serious side of whisky, [...]

  38. Rich S says:

    I finally secured a 15 year old bottle of Pappys this fall, tried twice now and I am curious what others are tasting. It is off compared to last 2 releases per my taste buds.

  39. Gary M says:

    I am on a waiting list for the Pappy V 12 and 20 year. Interesting to know that it was blended with Charles Medley. I sold Charles Medley Distillery the new roofing on the barrel houses in 2008. While re-roofing one of the empty barrel houses we discovered three barrels of 25 year old bourbon. They bottled what was left and I have some. I have only sipped it since I do not have much…but it was amazing. Wonder what that is worth if I were to sell? The distillery still has not re-opened due to funding.

  40. Forgive me for beating a dead horse, but the comment about PVW at the head of this page says of the fall 2012 release: “Pappy Van Winkle 20 year old and Pappy Van Winkle 23 year old will be a mixture of wheated bourbons made at Buffalo Trace and Stitzel-Weller.”
    Yet, the article on page 70 of the Fall 2012 Whisky Advocate says: “The Fall 2012 allocation of Pappy 23 year old was bottles years ago and is all Stitzel-Weller…”
    Which is it???

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