Want to get to know Old Rip Van Winkle quick-like? You’ll get cozy with this brand in a hurry. You’ve heard of the man, the myth, and the legend. But what’s this particular whiskey game all about? We’ll tell you the bourbon tale in seven quick facts!
7 Delicious Facts About Old Rip Van Winkle Bourbon
This won’t take long. Promise. Let’s have a brief look at the brand’s history, bottles, mash bill, and even a few super-short reviews. There’s no time like the present. If you’re curious, get the scoop now!
1) Where’s it made?
At the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, under contract. They’re about an hour west of us here at Prestige in Louisville. And yes, we consider them our neighbors. Nice to see ya, Pappy.
2) Who’s behind the operation?
It all started with Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr. The legacy continued with Julian Jr. and Julian III, and even his son Preston in 2001. That’s four generations, and it’s seriously something special. Since 2002, Buffalo Trace has taken care of the Van Winkle production. With bourbon’s popularity, this was an easier route for the family. More reserves for the future, friends!
3) Interesting tidbit
Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr. got his start as a salesman at W.L. Weller and Sons in Louisville. We love all the bourbon realm inbound linking. Oh, what a tangled, beautiful, boozy web we weave!
4) What’s the lineup look like?
Six bottles, friends. Know them:
- Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year
- Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year
- Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15 Year
- Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20 Year
- Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye
- Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23 Year
Pappy 15 Year is “one of a handful of bourbons that back up all the hype surrounding it! … You can’t deny there’s something really special about these bottles and the spirits inside!” – @indianabourbon, Prestige Brand Ambassador
5) What’s the most popular?
Those Pappy releases. You probably already knew that, but just in case you didn’t, they’re the hottest thing in bourbon. No signs of that ending anytime soon, either. People pay thousands. A flight will cost you hundreds. We don’t make the rules. We just know them. And yeah, sometimes we have to play by them.
“Hard to find but always worth it.” – @masterofbourbon
6) What does Old Van Winkle taste like?
Well, they’re “wheaters.” The mash bill begins with bourbon’s star, corn, of course. Then it’s barley and, instead of the usual rye, it’s wheat. (Obviously, it’s different on the Reserve Rye bottle.) Wheated bourbons are creamy, as far as the mouthfeel goes. Expect smooth, sweet fruit. With ryes, you’ll get more heat and spice. See our Wheated Bourbon Guide for more info.
Upon visiting the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery and seeing the full lineup, he said, “What dreams look like.” – @northern_bourbon, Prestige Brand Ambassador
7) Can’t afford (or FIND) Old Rip Van Winkle?
We feel you. Opt for W.L. Weller Special Reserve. You won’t go wrong, in our opinion. You’ll get something akin to Van Winkle for much less. Some folks say Weller and Winkle aren’t even remotely in the same ballpark. But the connection is certainly there (in more ways than one) for us. Pappy fever has driven the Weller price tag up, too. But we still spot bottles for about $30-40. Sometimes, you can even snag one for around $20-25. Great buy! Make it happen.
We’re Leaving a Legacy, Ourselves
We haven’t passed the family business on through four generations (yet), but we’re doing great things. We’re located right here in Bourbon Central. Louisville, Kentucky, is our home. We employ our state’s finest craftsmen and artisans to build our whiskey decanters. And for every single decanter we sell, we plant a tree right here in the U.S., to boot. Pretty sweet, huh?
See the beauty for yourself. Check out our entire Prestige lineup. Our collection is unique. You’ll find gifts for the holidays, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, retirements, etc. More than ever, drinking is an experience. We wanted to be a luxurious and special part of that experience. So, we added some much-needed flair to the world of barware.
Follow us @prestigedecanters for more gift ideas, quick facts, trivia, recipes, coupon codes, etc. We’re always celebrating liquor. Especially our first Bluegrass love: bourbon.
And we’d love to hear from you. Have you tried any of the Old Rip Van Winkle bottles before? Tell us which one(s) in the comments below. We want to know what you think!
[Photo (modified) credit: Dale Cruse, @Flickr]