Even some of the biggest whiskey enthusiasts in the world have yet to taste the mellow goodness of Pappy Van Winkle. Becoming the stuff of legend due to the discrepancy between supply and demand, the Kentucky-based bourbon whiskey from Old Rip Van Winkle distillery, now owned by Buffalo Trace, substitutes the rye in a typical bourbon mashbill for wheat (although it must still include at least 51% corn by law). Where higher rye content would mean less time needed to age in the oak barrel, higher wheat requires more time — as in, upwards of 20 years for certain liquids.
Pappy’s annual range for 2022 features five bourbons, ranging from Old Van Winkle 10 Year all the way up to Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23 Year, the latter of which is routinely considered one of the best bourbons of all time, coming from meticulously-selected barrels. The bottles are expected to roll out to select retailers sometime this month.
The rest of the bourbon lineup includes the 12-year-old Van Winkle Special Reserve and the 15- and 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve expressions. There’s also the Van Winkle Special Reserve Rye Whiskey that’s been aged for an unprecedented 13 years — one of the oldest around.
While the distillery hopes that retailers honor their suggested retail prices of $70 up to $300, the reality is that Pappy’s is arguably the most sought-after bourbon in the country and can often only be found in the thousand-plus-dollar range on the aftermarket. However, it’s been reported by the distillery that the barrels yielded more bottles than usual this year. Nonetheless, the elusive wheated bourbon whiskeys are still considered incredibly rare, so cross your fingers and keep your eyes peeled.