Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Van Winkle Phenomenon and How It Got That Way

There is nothing else quite like it in the world of distilled spirits, a product (six products, actually) in such demand that they rarely hit the retail shelf and mostly sell (licitly or illicitly) for several multiples above their suggested retail price. If you can acquire a bottle of Pappy 23-year-old for its $299.99 SRP, it is because you won a lottery.

You probably know that Julian P. 'Pappy' Van Winkle owned Louisville's Stitzel-Weller Distillery, which was famous for wheated bourbon. You probably know that the brand is managed today by his grandson and great-grandson, in conjunction with Sazerac, and produced at Buffalo Trace Distillery.

But you may not know the whole story of the man, the whiskey, the brand, and the international phenomenon it has become.

But you can, because the new issue of The Bourbon Country Reader is all about Van Winkle, plus a few suggestions of whiskeys you might enjoy instead.

Current Reader subscribers should receive their copies in a week or so. New subscribers can get on the bandwagon by clicking here.

Founded in 1993, The Bourbon Country Reader is the oldest publication devoted entirely to American whiskey. It is a charming mix of news, history, analysis, and product reviews. Do you worry that advertising spending influences coverage in other publications? No chance of that here since The Bourbon Country Reader is 100 percent reader-supported. It accepts no advertising.

To experience The Bourbon Country Reader for yourself, you need to subscribe. Honoring history, The Bourbon Country Reader still comes to you exclusively on paper, in an envelope, via the USPS.

A subscription to The Bourbon Country Reader is still a mere $20 per year for addresses in the USA, $25 for everyone else. The Bourbon Country Reader is published six times a year, more-or-less, but your subscription always includes six issues no matter how long it takes. For those of you keeping track, this new one is Volume 19, Number 6. (And, yes, it's a bit overdue.)

Click here to subscribe with PayPal or any major credit card, or for more information. Click here for a free sample issue (in PDF format). Click here to open or download the free PDF document, "The Bourbon Country Reader Issue Contents in Chronological Order." (It's like an index.)

If you want to catch up on what you've missed, bound back issue volumes are available for $20 each, or three for $50. The release of Volume 19, Number 6 means Volume 19 is now available. That's here too.

If you prefer to pay by check, make it payable to Made and Bottled in Kentucky, and mail it to Made and Bottled in Kentucky, 3712 N. Broadway, PMB 298, Chicago, IL 60613-4198. Checks drawn on U.S. banks only, please.


Clueless of Course said...

Or you may pay a fair retail price because your retailer values their customers and has enough integrity not engage in price gouging. Also, riveting promo for the The Bourbon Country Reader!

Erik Fish said...

Just finally got my Reader.

Great write-up. Excepting micro-distilled stuff, is there any major wheated bourbon that does not "genetically" go back to Pappy and Stitzel-Weller somehow?

Old Fitz/Larceny at HH, the Wellers and Van Winkles at BT, Rebel Yell, David Nicholson, the Maker's through the Bill Samuels - Pappy connection.

Even Wyoming Whiskey, a 20% wheated bourbon which is pretty big out here in the West, is connected through Steven Nally, who got hired after retiring from Maker's to get WW started.

The only one I'm not sure about is Barton's 1792 Sweet Wheat, but they're owned by Sazerac, so maybe that's the Weller recipe too ;)

Chuck Cowdery said...

I can shed a little light on that last point. When Sazerac bought Barton, they were doing their due diligence and discovered that Barton had been making a wheated bourbon for years and putting it away, but Sazerac couldn't find any evidence of why they were making it, who they were making it for, or whether or not they had sold any of it. Maybe they were using it in blends, was one theory. Anyway, that's the root of 1792 Sweet Wheat.