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Issue 124 - The rise of Pappy Van Winkle

Whisky Magazine Issue 124
December 2014


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The rise of Pappy Van Winkle

Jonny on auction watch

Soaring auction prices for Pappy Van Winkle aged bourbons have elevated the brand into the WMI top ten, a first for an American whiskey. Over the past two years, shortages of Pappy on the shelves, the popularity for spirit produced at the Stitzel-Weller distillery, and a resurgent fan base have combined to make it a hot prospect at auction. Van Winkle brands are currently out-trading Scottish distilleries including Glenfiddich, Port Ellen and Highland Park on the WMI.

In September, Hart Davis Hart in Chicago offered the largest collection witnessed this year; a decanter of Old Rip Van Winkle 23 Years Old Family Selection Bourbon made $3,800 (£2,325), and a 2011 bottling of Pappy Van Winkle 20 Years Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey made $1,000 (£600). Wally's Auctions in New York achieved $2,800 (£1,740) for a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 23 Years Old Kentucky Bourbon in October. In Boston, Skinner, Inc sold another Glencairn decanter of Old Rip Van Winkle Family Selection 23 Years Old, although this one topped the Hart Davis Hart price, making $4,500 (£2,800). Prices are higher in U.S. salerooms where competition is tougher than the scene in Europe, though America remains the best place to find a bottle
of your own.

Auction watch
The Macallan may be feeling the heat as Karuizawa leapfrogged Bowmore into second place in the WMI rankings. However, it still has a comfortable lead at the top with a regular supply of top-end aged examples coming to auction. Ar...

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