The World’s Best Bourbon? (Part 1)


Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve is the flagship brand of bourbon whiskey owned by the “Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery” company (which does not actually own or operate a distillery, but rather has it produced under a contract with another company). It is distilled and bottled by the Sazerac Company at its Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve is often regarded as one of the finest bourbons in the world, and is rare to find on the market due to its very low production and high demand

I always wonder if this is due to the rarity, expense or nostalgia that leads to these types of tag? Not just in whisk(e)y but any “luxury” item. Can the 12 year old which I’ll be looking a in this review or the 20 year old which I’ll look at next live up to the acclaim and fanfare which accompanies it?


I poured the whisky in to a Glencairn glass, added a teaspoon of water and left the whisky to develop for ten minutes. The bourbon is an old gold, deep amber colour. On rolling around the glass the bourbon is quite light in consistency with medium legs.

The nose is Initially quite intense with note of alcohol coming forward. This moves away quite quickly developing in to sweeter notes of vanilla, treacle, caramel and demerara sugar surge forward. Sitting and getting to know the bourbon for a while lets you find some sour dough and mashed grain notes which come forward softly. This bourbon is very complex!

The flavour is again a beautiful balance of sweet and spice! Notes of caramel, oranges, vanilla and honey notes all come rushing forward! This is followed by more dry slightly bitter notes of coffee, chocolate, almonds and charcoal. the bourbon is very complex and very very smooth.

The finish long with hints of spice, sweet oak and caramel. Overall This is a wonderful bourbon , a little different from the 20 year old and almost as complex but more about that later!!

Normally I’d link you to somewhere this would be available but sadly I can’t find it! If you happen to I hope you love it as much as I did!






One thought on “The World’s Best Bourbon? (Part 1)

  1. Good review! I’m always a little sceptical of bourbon – in the sense that I often claim that it all pretty much tastes the same. But the Pappy’s is certainly the exception. Ted and I came across some of the 20YO in a bar here in Tassie and split it between us (at the price they were asking were not getting a dram each!). Here’s what Ted thought: As for what I thought. It was very nice. Still bourbon. But very nice. I look forward to part two to find out your thoughts!
    Keep on waffling,

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