Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15 Year

Pappy 15

I was out searching for a bottle of Booker’s because I had never purchased a bottle and wanted to try some before the ensuing price hike in late 2016. After picking one off the shelf, behind the counter at the register I spotted the ever elusive Pappy. I asked if it was being held and if not what the price would be. At $270 I knew it was marked up over 100%, but still far cheaper than most will see it. Being Christmas time and unable to find GTS that year I said screw it and splurged (After I checked with Mrs. MajorHop). Does pappy live up to the hype?

Paid: $270 for 750ml (Note MSRP is $120, Secondary prices reach above $1K at times)

Distilled / Owned By: Buffalo Trace / Sazerac

Region: Kentucky

53.5% ABV

Aged For: 15 years

Mashbill: Buffalo Trace wheated mashbill

Cask Type: New charred oak, Char #4

Chill Filtered: No

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn



Color: Dark Copper, really quiet sexy

Nose: The best way to describe my initial reaction was, yup that’s definitely a wheater. Vanilla, caramel, honey sweetness that fit the profile of your standard wheater. Old wood and a hint of orange zest.

Taste: Starts on the palate very smooth and sweet. Vanilla custard and cinnamon with a smidge of black pepper. Pipe tobacco and a sort of ginger-almond flavor was the best way I can describe the second wave of flavor. Picks up in intensity as it goes on.

Finish: A good length and slight warmth. It has a sort of citrus ginger finish that reminds me more of scotch than the usual bourbon finish. Peppermint and dark chocolate complete the finish.

Overall: I think the proof and mouthfeel are excellent, giving the bourbon a nice viscosity and feel. I feel that it’s age gives it a good complexity without being over oaked. This is a lovely bourbon that smells, and tastes great. (One of my friends who was having some with me who is a neophyte to whiskey loved the smell and could not stop nosing his glencairn, however he may just mentally appropriated that it was da pappiz) That being said I wouldn’t seek out another bottle. I would feel comfortable paying roughly $75-$80 for something like this, but not $130, and certainly not $270. Half of it was wanting to try what all the madness and hype was. I do also note that this is 2016’s release and is entirely BT juice. Does it live up to the legendary hype? Nope. But It’s still a great bourbon that I loved to share with my closest friends.

Score: 88 out of 100

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