I received the news about an hour after the Pappy Van Winkle’s bottles arrived at my local liquor store. It was a day or two before Thanksgiving. The email said the PVW was here and did I want 15 or 20 year? I thought for a moment and then called as fast as I could. I was going to go for the 15 since I had tried the 12 last year (good stuff but not what Pappy was famous for). The 15-year was spoken for so I was left with the 20 year. Tough break, right? Sometimes God works in mysterious ways….
I asked for the price and was told $136.99 a bottle. Sold. I then thought about what the wife would say if she knew I spent $150 on a 750 ml bottle of bourbon. I am not a big spender when it comes to Bourbon. Normally, I go for value. My everyday is Evan Williams Black and when I splurge I usually go for Buffalo Trace – the best tasting bang for your buck in the bourbon universe at least that I have run across so far. I drink the EW in a Manhattan, or with a splash of water or an ice cube and sometimes in coke or in lemonade at the beach in the summer. The BT I almost always take neat and it more than stands up to it.
As I drove to the store, I felt giddy like I was going on my first date. I had heard so much about this bourbon and now I had scored a bottle after about 18 months of trying. I had recently visited the Old Rip Van Winkle Facebook site and realized how hard it was for most people to find. I had planned to go to Husk in Charleston, SC and put down about $47 for a pour if I did not find it by my birthday, January 31st. The wife would have loved that one too!
When I got to Habersham Beverage the cashier said I was one of the “lottery winners” and someone went to the back and got my bottle of 20-year Pappy Van Winkle. They presented it to me in a nice red velvet bag and I felt like a “winner” with a secret.
The bottle sits unopened in its hiding place waiting for Christmas Eve. On that night, I will take it down after the kids are nestled in their beds with dreams of sugar plums dancing in their heads, gingerly open it with high expectation, and pour it in my whiskey snifter to savor. I will take a long draw of the aroma and then take my first sip of Pappy Van Winkle 20 year, the best bourbon in the world. Can’t wait. Cheers!