Finding Pappy — Or At Least Van Winkle — Again

Finding Pappy Van Winkle

It's kind of bittersweet when you get the call.

And you hear you got picked for the Pappy, but...it's not exactly Pappy, but Van Winkle Special Reserve Lot "B" 12 Year.

In other words, this stuff didn't quite make the cut and become Pappy Van Winkle.

It was pulled off the shelf and bottled at 12 years because it didn't deserve a few more years of aging, like the bourbon that will one day be labeled Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year, 20 Year or 23 year.

But it is still pretty damn good. One can't get too upset about getting it, especially in the midst of "Pappy Mania." 

Bittersweet

A bourbon lover is kind of torn because he saved a few dollars, but didn't get exactly what he wanted -- the 15 Year Pappy.

I've had the 12 before and the stalwart 20, but not the 23 or 15. Many say 15 is the best of the lot and I'd like to taste and see for myself.

But this year -- 2015 -- I'll either have to go the way of the secondary market -- which I refuse to do on principle -- or find me a pour at a nearby drinking establishment.

Heck, I love Pappy, but I am not paying 10 times its value -- there are too many other good bourbons out there for that type of craziness.

The Next Best Thing to Finding a Bottle

So I've decided to try and find me a pour at a bar. If you feel the same way now's the best time to do it.

Most of the places that usually carry it will have restocked on the fall release but it may not last thorough the year.

Check out the list of places that serve Pappy or at least have at some point. But still check beforehand if that's the only reason you're going. They may have run out.

A Warning

And yes, it will cost a lot, but a $50 pour sure beats a $1,500 bottle, at least in my opinion.

I don't begrudge anyone that overpays for it by the bottle, as long as you're not one of those low-lifes who stole it from the warehouse.

The Bright Side For All Who Struck Out

Not to worry even if you struck out on your Pappy chase in 2014.
There are still plenty of damn good bourbons.

Over the holidays, I enjoyed three very respectable bourbons I'd never had before: Blanton's, Booker's and 1792 Ridgemont Reserve.

All were very tasty and easy to find.

My 2015 Resolution

Also, in the spirit of the New Year, I've made a resolution not to drink my Pappy -- I mean Van Winkle Special Reserve Lot "B" 12  -- until I've found another bottle of Pappy (preferably 15) to back it up.

It's always dangerous to pop the cap because it never seems to last as long as you planned it to. My Pappy Van winkle 20 Year only made it to David Foster Wallace's birthday, February 21.

And I've got lots of good stuff to celebrate this year. My daughter graduates high school, my wife and I'll be married 20 years and hopefully, there will be other unexpected milestones to raise a glass of fine bourbon to.

But maybe, just maybe, I will resist the temptation, head to the nearest watering hole with a bottle of Pappy on the shelf and shell out more than I want to for a celebratory pour.

Or, merely enjoy one of my findable go-tos.

Of course, you're more than welcome to send me some of your extras.

Cheers!

Chris Brantley

Stumbled across bourbon via Walker Percy. Like to read, write and drink bourbon. Also, I enjoy living on the coast, grilling steaks, eating seafood and listening to good music. Great song on Spotify, fine bourbon in the glass, and something interesting to think about = BLISS.