Yesterday Buffalo Trace sent out a press release saying "some of the angels were extra greedy over the past two decades, leaving us less bourbon than in previous years." That means there is about "half as much as last year."
Stay tuned I will have a post soon about the pending release and tools you can use to track it, and hopefully locate some (or at least have a shot at standing line for it.)
Here's the press release in its entirety:
Van Winkle Bourbon Available Soon
Barrels yield less 15, 20 and 23 Year Old Bourbon than usual
FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (Oct. 14, 2015) – The long anticipated annual release of the Van Winkle bourbons is nearly here, but unfortunately some of the angels were extra greedy over the past two decades, leaving us less bourbon than in previous years.
“When bourbon ages over 15 years, much is lost to the angel’s share. Many of the 53 gallon oak barrels often yield less than 20 gallons,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon marketing director. “Unfortunately this year we experienced poor yields on the older Van Winkle whiskeys. Furthermore, we have strict quality standards here at Buffalo Trace and several of the older Van Winkle barrels did not meet those standards. This makes a drastic difference in volume, considering we have very few barrels as it is. The result is less 15 year-old Pappy Van Winkle than usual, and far less 20 year-old and 23 year-old. Frankly, about half as much as last year.”
Known for their smoother and sweeter flavor, Van Winkle bourbons are aged years longer than most others and garner an impeccable reputation among connoisseurs. Although the bourbons have become increasingly popular worldwide in recent years, very little is sold overseas, so that most of these coveted bottles are available in the United States.
The Van Winkle collection consists of several whiskeys. Suggested retail prices are as follows:
$49.99 - Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10 Year Old 107 proof
$59.99 - Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 Year Old
$99.99 - Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye Whiskey 13 Year Old
$79.99 - Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old
$149.99 - Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old
$249.99 - Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old
“Although a lot of retailers charge more than our suggested pricing, we are not asking them to do so,” said Julian Van Winkle, president, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. “We have not raised prices and do not intend to do so drastically in the future. We are committed to our quality and our pricing.”
The Van Winkle line of whiskeys has won a multitude of awards through the years, including the 15-year-old being named “Excellent/highly recommended” in the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge; the 20 year-old awarded “Extraordinary/ultimate recommendation” in the 2013 Ultimate Spirits Challenge; a double gold for the 20 year-old in the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition; and the Chairman’s Trophy and “Extraordinary/Ultimate Recommendation” for the 20 year-old in the 2015 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
The Van Winkle Whiskeys will be available starting in November, but please be mindful that supply is quite limited and bottles shall be hard to find in stores, bars and restaurants. They will be packed three bottles per case.