Andrew Esserman is first and foremost a coffee guy. Just over 10 years ago, he launched Coffee Bean Direct, an Internet-based coffee roaster and direct-delivery company. And just as his company has grown so has his Pappy Collection.
So let's jump right in and see how Andrew gathered this fine collection of Pappy Van Winkle and other rare bourbons.
How did you first hear about or get introduced to Pappy Van Winkle?
I was introduced to Pappy by a good friend. I was not a bourbon drinker at the time. He told me it was the best and nothing even came close.
What made you decide to start hunting multiple bottles?
When I found out how hard it was to acquire bottles, a new challenge was born.
What exactly was your strategy for finding all the bottles?
I established good relationships with distributors. I purchased a lot of expensive red wine throughout the years. It also didn't hurt to hand out 5lb bags of coffee from my coffee roasting business.
Did you get any at retail or did you have to pay extra?
I think 4 years ago most bottles were bought at retail. After that, it seems like every year the price is much higher than retail.
Give us a quick breakdown of how your overall collection looks?
I'll send a picture. Its the best way to describe.
What are your favorite bourbons other than Pappy Van Winkle? What is your favorite "I-can-walk-in-to-any-liquor-store-and-get anytime" bourbon?
Jefferson Presidential Select 21 year old and Michter's 10 year are a couple of my favorites.
Do you hunt or collect any other rare bourbons? If so, which ones?
I have been trying to collect some of the older more established brands. I don't like to buy the new brands that just popped up because bourbon is popular now. Some of the brands I acquired are: William Larue Weller, George T. Stagg, Colonel E.H. Taylor Single Barrel, Single Oak Project by Buffalo Trace and Black Maple Hill isn't too bad either.
List the top 5 bourbons you've actually tasted in order of your preference.
1. Pappy 20 yr
2. Jeffersons 21
3. Michter's 10 yr
4. Colonel E.H Taylor single barrel.
5. Makers 46