To the next whisky bar
Oh, don't ask why
Oh, don't ask why
To the next whisky bar
Oh, don't ask why
Oh, don't ask why
The next whisky bar
I tell you we must die
I tell you we must die
I tell you, I tell you
I tell you we must die
We now must say goodbye
We've lost our good old mama
And must have whiskey, oh, you know why"
So yesterday was the day to pay the Taxman and yes, that means you deserve a drink or three of the good stuff tonight.
And since you're a member you also get this sweet deal - 2-for-1 tickets to our next Pappy Giveaway until April 20.
And make sure you check out the 4 Shots. If I'm not sipping something from Buffalo Trace it is usually something from 4 Roses and they've got a good one coming out.
Next Pappy Giveaway
On April 24, we'll give away a bottle of Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year Bourbon LIVE on our Facebook Page. The drawing takes place at 9pm EST. Good Luck!
More Pappy Resources
The Pappy Raffle/Lotteries/Auctions Page (Keeps you in the know about Statewide, Store-Specific or other opportunities to locate a bottle of Pappy.)
The Pappy Events Page (Makes you aware of Tasting Events, Whiskey Festivals, etc. that offer and opportunity to taste some Pappy Van Winkle.)
Also, the Pappy List is now categorized by State. (Bars and restaurants do run out so it's always a good idea to call and ask if that's the only reason you're going.)
Earlier this year fans of Four Roses bourbon were thrilled to learn their favorite Kentucky bourbon distillery would be adding Small Batch Select as the first permanent edition to the core line up in 12 years. One key bit of information which was missing though was the recipe for this bottling, which is what has been revealed as of today.
Four Roses Small Batch Select, according to those behind it, was put together by Four Roses master distiller Brent Elliott. He hand-selected and mingled six of Four Roses’ 10 bourbon recipes, each aged a minimum of 6 years, to create this expression, which features the OBSV, OBSK, OBSF, OESV, OESK and OESF variants.
“Small Batch Select includes six of our recipes and offers truly unique flavor characteristics from our current lineup of bourbons,” said Elliott in a prepared statement. “It’s all new, but at the same time, it’s an extension of what we do, and what we do well. Beyond the unique flavor profile, we wanted to give something to the consumer that they’re really looking for–a non-chill filtered, higher strength Bourbon–and that’s what they will experience with Four Roses Small Batch Select.”
As it stands now this new 104 proof expression is set to roll out to select retailers in Kentucky, New York, California, Texas and Georgia in the weeks following, and will be available in additional locations in the future. Very limited official tasting notes suggest this bourbon “balances notes of candied fruit with warmth and spice for a nuanced, mouth-coating flavor enjoyable to both casual drinkers and connoisseurs.”
It should be noted as well Small Batch Select releases as Four Roses celebrates the culmination of its $55 million expansion project. This undertaking, which began back in 2015, is said to have
invested $34 million into Four Roses’ Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Ky., and $21 million at the Warehouse & Bottling Facility in Cox’s Creek, Ky. At the Distillery, Four Roses added two new buildings and equipment, including a new column and doubler still and more fermenters. With the duplicate column and doubler still, production capacity is scheduled to increase from 4 million to 8 million proof gallons, enough to fill more than 130,000 barrels a year. Louisville, Ky. based architecture firm Joseph & Joseph designed the original Distillery in 1910, and modeled the new buildings after the existing Spanish mission-style structures unique to Four Roses.
At the Warehouse & Bottling Facility, Four Roses built a new bottling facility, containing two bottling lines, including one specifically designed for Single Barrel and a high-speed bottling line, bottling support areas and office space. Warehouse X, the first of several new Four Roses warehouses to be built in the coming years, was completed in November 2018.
“It’s an exciting time at Four Roses and we are proud to celebrate the next step in our effort to provide even more Bourbon to our consumers, while maintaining a commitment to produce the same premium quality that defines the brand,” said Four Roses Chief Operating Officer Ryan Ashley. “We welcome and encourage you to make the trip to our Distillery in Lawrenceburg to experience our continued growth first-hand.”
Pappy Van Winkle shot to fame in 1996 after the Beverage Testing Institute scored its 20-year release 99 out of 100. It was the highest rating the institute ever awarded a whiskey.
Ever since, getting your hands on a bottle has become an almost impossible task, hindered by the fact the distillery only releases around 7,000 cases of the coveted bourbon annually (approximately 84,000 bottles). According to Bottle Blue Book, which tracks private bourbon sales, the current value for a 750-milliliter bottle of “entry-level” Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 year is $860. If you find a retailer selling one online, expect to pay double that amount.
Besides scarcity and extreme price tags, part of what makes Pappy special is that it’s a “wheated” bourbon. By law, the mash bill for any bourbon should contain a minimum of 51 percent corn. Most distillers use rye as the secondary grain, but Old Rip Van Winkle goes wheat-heavy, creating a bourbon that’s sweeter and fruitier than standard distills, with a smooth-drinking, “creamy” mouthfeel.
Pappy isn’t the only wheated bourbon on the market, though. We scoured the landscape to taste the best Pappy-adjacent spirits that use similar mash bills and are more widely available and affordable. While these are in no way an apples-to-apples substitute for the famous Van Winkle, for those of us with diamond dreams and lucite budgets, they scratch a similar itch. Here are five wheated alternatives to Pappy Van Winkle.
Larceny arrives in a unique, key-shaped bottle and has an unconventional cork closure. A smooth-sipping bourbon with bread, toffee, and honey notes, this small-batch spirit punches well above its price tag. Average Price: $25.
Aged for four years in charred new oak barrels, this wheated bourbon comes from a distiller normally associated with rye and high-rye bourbons. The small-batch release is bottled at 96 proof and mixes pecan, hazelnut, and cedar notes with the category’s typical sweet aromas and flavors. Average price: $43.
Maker’s Mark is one of the few bourbon distillers for which a wheat-heavy mash is standard. For this release, the distillery doubles down on oak flavors by inserting seared French oak staves into fully mature, cask-strength Maker’s. The process adds intense vanilla and caramel notes, and Maker’s 46 has an altogether bolder and more complex flavor than the distiller’s ordinary bottlings. Average Price: $40.
Sazerac Company’s Barton 1792 Distillery generally uses a high rye mash bill for its bourbons, but puts wheat front and center (after corn) for this limited-edition release. The bourbon lives up to its “sweet” name with toffee, caramel, and vanilla aromas, followed by dried fruit flavors and a soft, smooth-drinking finish. Average Price: $53.
The Weller-Pappy connection stretches back to the 1890s, at which time Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle worked as a salesman for W. L. Weller. Pappy’s reputation eventually far surpassed that of his one-time employer, though, and much of Weller’s claim to fame now comes from that association. Both brands are currently distilled using the same mash bill at the same (Buffalo Trace) distillery in Frankfort, Ky. While Weller 12 Year is the bourbon that bears the closest resemblance to Pappy, getting your hands on a bottle is increasingly difficult, and costs at least $200 if you do. Weller Special Reserve, on the other hand, remains an “affordable” Pappy alternative, and one you can actually find. Average Price: $80
This month, a pair of 75-year-old rockers named Mick and Keith and their legendary band will kick off a worldwide stadium tour that is expected to be the year’s highest-grossing musical road show, a reminder that being old and one-of-a-kind are often very valuable attributes.
That’s certainly the case with whisky, where in recent months we’ve seen a spate of mature releases priced at five and six figures from the likes of Bowmore, Highland Park and Yamazaki. In November, a 60-year-old bottle of The Macallan fetched a world record $1,528,800 at auction. And the market shows no sign of cooling off. Unlike the Stones, who seem perfectly content to stick to the familiar golden oldies, with rare whisky, the hits keep coming. Here are five newly available bottles of precious juice ready to rock collectors’ worlds.
Littlemill 40 Year Old Whisky Celestial Edition ($10,000)
The Littlemill distillery was officially established on the banks of the River Clyde near Glasgow in 1772, but renowned whisky historian Misako Udo has posited that distilling may have taken place there centuries before. Thus, Littlemill joins an ever-increasing list of distilleries that claim they could be the world’s oldest. Or not. But maybe. What is clear, though, is that the 40 Year Celestial Edition is the oldest Littlemill release in existence and that more isn’t likely forthcoming—the distillery closed in 1994 and burned to the ground a decade later. Just 23 hand-blown Glencairn Crystal decanters have been allotted to America.
The Glenlivet Winchester Collection Vintage 1967 ($25,000)
Only 150 bottles of this extremely rare Scotch will be made available this month. Bethan Gray, winner of three Elle Decoration British Design Awards including the coveted Best British Designer, created the bottle and display case, marking the first time in 200 years that The Glenlivet has worked with a female designer. So there’s progress on the inclusion front. Oh, and there’s also the spirit itself, among the oldest and rarest releases The Glenlivet has ever produced.
Glengoyne 30 Year Old, 2018 Edition ($1,000)
This 30 year-old whisky debuted in October 2017, when Highland producer Glengoyne released 6,000 bottles worldwide. It was such a hit, that they decided to have another go. The 2018 release is even more exclusive, with just 5,200 bottles available. Aged in Sherry casks and bottled un-chill filtered at about 93 proof, Glengoyne 30 boasts a rich flavor profile, highlighted by notes of clove, black cherry, nutmeg and orange marmalade.
Double Eagle Very Rare Bourbon ($2,000)
The packaging—luxurious crystal decanter and silver presentation box with sliding doors and spotlights above and below—is something to behold, but it’s what’s inside the bottle that makes this rare offering from the Buffalo Trace Distillery (known to many as the makers of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon) so special. The 20-year-old bourbon is matured twice as long as the standard Eagle Rare, and even after two decades, what emerged from the barrel is a surprisingly smooth and balanced 90-proof spirit. Hints of vanilla, toasted oak and caramel lead to a finish marked by tobacco and leather notes. Only 299 of these bottles were produced. An individually numbered letter of authenticity is included with each.
Bruichladdich Rare Cask Series 1984 Bourbon: All In ($1,100)
In 2008, Bruichladdich’s then master distiller Jim McEwan had the good fortune to stumble upon a dozen refill bourbon barrels and hogsheads that had been filled with unpeated single malt whisky back in 1984. He re-casked the liquid into first fill bourbon barrels and let it rest another eight years. A few months ago, he unveiled the finished product—an elegant whisky in which butterscotch sweetness mingles with a hint of salt tang. Distilled, matured and bottled on the mythical island of Islay, a scant 3,000 bottles were released.
Cheers and Enjoy the Chase!