FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (Oct. 9, 2012) - Finally, the wait is nearly over! Van Winkle bourbons will be back on shelves in late October. The popularity of Van Winkle whiskeys remains unmatched, but still in short supply. Known for their smoother and sweeter flavor, Van Winkle bourbons are aged years longer than most others and garner an impeccable reputation among connoisseurs. "When bourbon ages over 15 years, much is lost to the angel's share. Many barrels often yield less than 20 gallons, out of the original 53 gallons produced," said Julian Van Winkle, president, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. "However, our patience creates bourbon with unrivalled flavor."
Although Van Winkle bourbons have become increasingly popular worldwide in recent years, less is sent overseas than ever to allow more of this coveted bourbon to remain in the United States. "Because demand has escalated so much here, we've decided to scale back exports to help supply our American fan base," continued Van Winkle.
Furthermore, there will be more Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Old Bourbon at 107 proof. "We prefer the taste of our 10 year old bourbon at 107 proof. The rich flavor is compounded by the high proof," added Van Winkle. "We'll no longer bottle our 10 year old whiskey at 90 proof. Therefore, there will be more 107 proof available. For those who will miss the 90 proof Old Rip, we suggest adding a little more water to their glass. As Pappy used to say, 'why ship all that water across the country!'"
The Van Winkle collection consists of several expressions. Suggested retail prices are as follows:
- $39.99 - Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10 Year Old 107 proof
- $54.99 - Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 Year Old
- $69.99 - Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye Whiskey 13 Year Old
- $79.99 - Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old
- $129.99 - Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old
- $249.99 - Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old
The Van Winkle line of whiskeys has won a bevy of awards through the years, including 2010 "Spirit of the Year" from Wine and Spirits Magazine for Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old; "Best of Show" and "Best Whiskey" at the 2010 Los Angeles Wine and Spirits Competition; Gold medals at the 2011 and 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition; Best of Category, Small Batch Bourbon 11 Years or Older, 2012 Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition; and 2012 Chairman's Trophy Finalist: Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
The Van Winkle Whiskeys will be available near the end of October, but please be mindful that supply is quite limited and bottles shall be hard to find in stores, bars and restaurants. They will be packed three bottles per case, rather than traditional 12 bottle cases.
About Van Winkle Bourbon
The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery has a four generation history. The Van Winkle family's involvement in the bourbon industry began in the late 1800s with Julian P. "Pappy" Van Winkle, Sr. He was a traveling salesman for the W.L. Weller and Sons wholesale house in Louisville. Pappy and a friend, Alex Farnsley, eventually bought the wholesale house and also partnered with Mr. A. Ph. Stitzel on the purchase of Mr. Sitzel's distillery. The three of them merged the two companies and became the Stitzel-Weller Distillery.
In May of 1935 at the age of 61, Pappy opened the newly completed Stitzel-Weller Distillery in South Louisville. Its prominent brands were W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell, and Cabin Still. Pappy had a heavy influence on the operations there until his death at the age of 91. His son, Julian, Jr. took over operations until he was forced by stockholders to sell the distillery in 1972. The rights to all of their brands were sold to Norton Simon, Inc. Later, United Distillers, who eventually ended up with the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, sold off all of the original labels around 1999.
After selling the distillery, Julian Jr. resurrected a pre-Prohibition label, the only one to which the Van Winkles kept the rights, called Old Rip Van Winkle. He used whiskey stocks from the old distillery to supply his brand. Julian Jr.'s son, Julian, III took over in 1981 when Julian, Jr. passed away. Julian III has continued with the Van Winkle tradition of producing high-quality wheated bourbon. His son, Preston, joined the company in 2001 and the Van Winkles look to continue that tradition for generations to come.
In 2002 the Van Winkles entered into a joint venture with Buffalo Trace Distillery in Franklin County, Frankfort, Ky. All of the Van Winkle's whiskey production now takes place at Buffalo Trace Distillery under the same strict guidelines the family has always followed. For more information on the Van Winkle family of bourbon please visit www.oldripvanwinkle.com.