Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon is perhaps most famous for its highly sought-after Pappy Van Winkle releases, which are presently distilled under contract at Buffalo Trace.
During the latter part of the nineteenth century, Julian P ‘Pappy’ Van Winkle Sr and Alex Farnsley acquired a whisky distillation business along with the A Ph Stitzel Distillery. They merged the two businesses to form the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, producing such bourbons as Old Fitzgerald and W L Weller.
Passed through many generations of the Van Winkle family, before the family began working with Buffalo Trace, all the bourbon sold under the Van Winkle label is distilled from a mashbill with no rye; instead, using, wheat.
Van Winkle bourbon has received wide acclaim; although the range is surprisingly well-aged for US whiskey, with most expressions aging for more than double the average time of standard bourbon.
Old Rip Van Winkle History and Awards
Pappy began working at W.L. Weller & Sons first as a traveling whiskey salesman and eventually as the President of Stitzel-Weller Distillery.
After handing the reins to his son, Julian Jr., Julian operated the distillery from 1964 until the family sold it in 1972.
Not wanting to leave the bourbon industry altogether, Julian formed a company called J.P. Van Winkle and Son and began marketing bourbon through commemorative decanters. However, he never stopped bottling on the side. He created the Old Rip Van Winkle label as a side venture just in case his son, Julian III, wanted to come into the whiskey making business.
Julian III took over the business in 1981 after his father passed away. He purchased the Old Hoffman Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, for barrel storage and bottling purposes and began producing Old Rip Van Winkle to high acclaim.
When first approached by Buffalo Trace, Julian III wasn’t initially interested. However, they came to an agreement and Buffalo Trace bought the W.L. Weller label in 1999, continuing to make Van Winkle bourbon with almost the same recipe as Pappy's.
Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade 107 Proof 10 Year Old Bourbon
The ‘entry level’ of the Old Rip Van Winkle line, this 10 year old wheated bourbon bottles at 107 proof, with its age giving this older blend a mellow, smooth flavor.
Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade 107 Proof 10 Year Old Bourbon ranks up there with the very best of bourbons, offering a delight in its moderate sweetness with hints of fruit, oak and vanilla.
*Old Rip Van Winkle Pappy Van Winkle's 13 Year Old Family Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey*
Made from a 50/50 combination of Medley rye from the long time closed Owensboro distillery and Cream of Kentucky rye from the Old Bernheim distillery in Louisville, the Old Rip Van Winkle Pappy Van Winkle's 13 Year Old Family Reserve Straight Rye is kept in stainless steel tanks for 13 years.
Heavier than the standard Van Winkle bourbon, with a nose of wood, citrus and cherry and dark brown sugar, orange and vanilla on the palette, this blend is sure to be a winner with all bourbon fans.
Old Rip Van Winkle Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year Old Lot B Bourbon
The sweet, full-bodied flavors of this special lot have been described by some fans as pure ‘nectar’, with the 12 year ageing process creating an incredible drinking experience.
With a nose of honey, orange zest and cherry and offering smoke and cream on the palate, this Special Reserve finishes perfectly with notes of chocolate, smoke and wood.