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Always Fine Bourbon


From time to time a bourbon comes along that changes history, but none as famous as the elusive Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve collection by the Old Rip Van Winkle brand. Distilled in partnership with the most esteemed spirit brand, Buffalo Trace, this bourbon is one to write home about. But the real question is, who is this Pappy Van Winkle character that has taken the bourbon world by storm?


 In 1893 the young age of 18, Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle Sr. began his liquor journey as a salesman for liquor wholesaler, W.L Weller and Sons. Amazed by the industry, Pappy and a friend decided to purchase the distributor and give it a go themselves. But what was missing? Pappy knew he wanted to start distilling, but he needed the means to do so, and this came with the acquisition of A. Ph. Stizel Distillery in Louisville Kentucky. Around this time, prohibition hit the US, but this wasn’t an issue for good ole’ Pappy as Stitzel-Weller was licensed by the government to produce whiskey for medicinal purposes, lucky them! Pappy could continue to master his craft for years to come.


Although Stitzel had been distilling since 1872, the new Stitzel-Weller Distillery open its doors in 1935 on the day of the Kentucky Derby, a Louisville staple. Pappy continued to distil until his death at the age of 89. Believe it or not, Pappy distilled actively until then, making him the oldest active distiller in the nation at that time.




Van Winkle Bourbon


Stitzel-Weller was sold just seven years after his death, but lo and behold, another Van Winkle was there to assure that the Old Rip Van Winkle brand stayed alive. After the sale, Julian Van Winkle Jr. set up shop and opened a new venture, J.P. Van Winkle and Son. This was just in case his son Julian III was keen to continue the legacy of Old Rip Van Winkle. Julian Van Winkle III took over the company after the passing of his father in 1981, and continued to live true to his Pappy’s true value, product over profit. The love of quality bourbon outweighed the need for high profit and Pappy didn’t mind that. With just a modest budget, Julian III purchased the Old Hoffman Distillery for bottling and barrel storage so he could continue the family tradition of quality bourbon. Although they did not do much advertising, Old Rip Van Winkle could continually sell itself. This impeccable product definitely caused quite a stir, right?





Julian Van Winkle III was approached by bourbon legends, Buffalo Trace, in 1999. As honoured as he was, Julian just wasn’t interested. He had quite a bit of bourbon aging, but was mostly concerned for the future reserves. Soon after, Buffalo Trace bought the old W.L. Weller label and started to produce bourbon with nearly the same recipe that Pappy used.

The transition in 2002 proved to be easy as Buffalo Trace now produced the Van Winkle bourbons and Old Rip Van Winkle could maintain their strict standards and continue the legacy Pappy started.With 7,000 cases produced worldwide, this is a bourbon you have to stay on top of, and be sure to celebrate Bourbon Month or any month really with a pour of Pappy!
Pappy Van Winkle

“At a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but always fine bourbon.” – Pappy