Here’s One More Pappy Story

My last PVW November 2012
My last PVW November 2012

Many weeks go by, and last week a friend in a city 45 min away texts me a picture of some Colonel EH Taylor that is sitting on the shelf of the bottle shop around the block from him. I had been hunting for some CEHT Barrel Proof and the $73 price was the cheapest I had ever seen.

I call the shop, talk to the owner, and tell him to put aside both bottles for me and I'd drive up the next morning to pick them up. I make the 45 min drive with my 10 month old and a friend, and proceed to compliment the owner on his excellent bourbon selection I see he has a 3rd bottle of CEHT BP, pick that one up for a fellow collector, and also pick up a High West MWND and Willett 8yr rye for a separate friend.

We get to the counter to check out, and the owner says "I have own more bottle to offer you if you're interested..." I'm like "Absolutely". He says "I have a bottle of Pappy 20 if you want it." I asked him if he was serious and nearly fainted because I got so taken aback at what he just offered me, a first time buyer who stumbled upon his store because a random friend texted me because he knows I know good bourbon. I asked him what his price was and it's $250.

I ask him if he's serious again, thinking this whole situation is too good to be true and he smiles and nods and goes to the back to show me the bottle and the red velvet bag. I haggle him down to $240 and ask if he has anything else special hidden away, and he also sells me a Baby Saz for $32 (note, I had just seen this bottle listed at NINETY dollars at the shop by my home. You can get it for $26 by the case in a CVS in New Orleans)

While ringing me up, the owner mentions to me that many stores are selling this for $600 or $700, but he just "makes his money" on the bottle and moves on.

Now this kind of honest small business owner is one that I LOVE LOVE LOVE supporting. The story gets even better, because I go home and research the laser code to figure out what year this Pappy 20 is. I presume it's a 2014 bottle, but it turns out to be a 2011 vintage bottle. 2011 was the last full year that Stitzel-Weller distillate was used in Pappy 20.

Starting in Fall 2012 Buffalo Trace juice was blended in, making this bottle that much more valuable. I call the owner back the next day to tell him how he made my year and asked him if he knew that he sold me a 2011 bottle. He said he had no clue what year it was and the distributor just gave it to him a few weeks ago.

This story is 100% truth and goes to show you that there are still good, honest people in the world. It's just freaking whiskey in the end of the day, an incredible American spirit that shouldn't be reserved just for the rich.

Going back to my original point, bourbon karma has a way of rewarding those who honor this great american product and I have always been a proponent of sharing my exclusive rare bourbon finds with anyone that walks through my front door.

-Eric Hsiao