Bourbon Reviews:




Bottling NamePappy Van Winkle
Bottled ByOld Rip VanWinkle / Julian VanWinkle Lawerenceburg,KY
TypeKentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Alcohol content107 Proof
Availability US: Available Japan: Unknown Duty Free: Not Available Europe: Unknown
Age15
Views (since 20080612) 107777
Bottling Info<From Julian's Website>

My grandfather, Julian P. ???Pappy??? Van Winkle, Sr., started working as a salesman for W.L. Weller & Sons wholesale in Louisville, KY in 1893 at the age of eighteen, just after he graduated from Centre College in Danville, KY.

This bourbon represents a younger expression of our famous 20 year old Pappy Van Winkle???s Family Reserve. The whiskey in this bottle was produced according to our exclusive family wheated recipe and was specially selected from barrels in the heart of our warehouses here in Kentucky. It has remained undisturbed for 15 years to age in deep-charred heavy oak???untouched by human hands???unhurried by time. I am proud to set my family name upon it.

Rated 98 - Superlative! --
Beverage Tasting Institute



Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 2109, Created:20120821182703, Updated:20120821183710)
Purchased at:Sigman Bottle Shop, Conyers, Ga
Purchased for:$90 - This is a freshly opened bottle bought many months ago.
Info on this bottle:Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 Years Old
Nose:The opening is oak, nuts, leather, vanilla, a nice whiff of fudge, and nutmeg. This a superb nose with the 107 proof being quite shy.
Taste:The taste is heavenly heavily sweetened woody oaky vanilla caramel laden bourbon whiskey. Midpalate provides some pepper spice that does not, cannot, and seems to lack the will to overcome the deep hearty sweetness and oaky stability.
Finish:Not long, not short, just the right length to make room for another sip.
Overall:This has to be some of the bourbon Julian Van Winkle had made at Buffalo Trace and it is near perfect as a bourbon. Thick and hearty, with multiple flavors anchored in the oak. The tannins balance the flavors, subdue the alcohol, and allow the whole mouth to participate in the extraordinary experience.

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1942, Created:20110319183842, Updated:20110319184106)
Purchased at:
Nose:Leather, oak, grain, apple, organic matter, fresh green twigs, light vanilla, and a hint of caramel. Not very bourbon like but very complex in organics. The alcohol, he lay low.
Taste:Quite heavy mouthfeel but not overtly sweet. The tannins overrule the corn and barrel sweetness, but do not destroy it. There is an apple tartness there that moderates the dry 15 YO tannins and keeps them for running rampant. Were they to run amok (as is their wont), this bourbon would be a mess. Instead, Pappy 15 achieves a nice dry delicacy that makes it barely bourbon, but still a cousin, although one that seems to owe little allegiance (not to mention kinship) to standard Kentucky spirits. Pappy 15 YO also has taste relatives (in my opinion) in France, much more than most other bourbons do.
Finish:Mild to moderate finish, with the complex sweetness going toe to toe with the dry oaky elements. Pappy 15 finishes with a question, one each drinker must answer for himself. I find that intriquing and a dilema presented by most all ultra aged bourbons.
Overall:Its delicacy, challenged sweetness (by the oak tannins), smoothness, subtlety, and curious complexity join to make this spirit (and some of its brothers) major players on the bourbon stage. By some, it will always be considered a rogue spirit, unworthy to be called a great bourbon. By others, it will be appreicated for its extreme use of what the barrel can offer in the way of complex spirits. I am one of the admirers of Julian Van Winkle's ability to choose interesting ultra aged bourbons. I could live happily in a world of Van Winkle boubons, but I am glad I do not have to. For about 1/10 the price of this bourbon (today's market), I can buy a very good bourbon. Yet, until my financial condition is altered significantly for the worse, Pappy Van Winkle (and Old Rip Van Winkle) bourbons will be on my shelf, with the possible exception of the 23 YO............there I have drawn the line on what I am willing to pay.

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Review from midwestinNY (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1938, Created:20110316004136) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:Online
Purchased for:$55
Nose:Just unbelievable, marriage of all those scents you know but more pronounced and blended. Plenty of oak and maple and tobacco spice. But so sweet too, I got blueberries and bubblegum a little. If you drink VW then you know these wheats just have smells others can't produce even if they tried. Let it breathe, talk about treasures being unlocked.
Taste:This one is SO sweet, almost like a liqueur. I like my bourbon on the rocks just b/c I like my potion cold, but this one needs to be neat or just a little water. It's so sweet. I can't articulate what it does, but rest assured you're going for a ride
Finish:It's like walking through a big oak hall right at the end that draws ouuuuuuut then just fades until you're totally drifting off with it. Just wonderful.
Overall:This is the best for the value in my opinion. For around like 50-60 (if you can actually find it) you can't beat it. This and the ten year are the best for me.


OH! And DO try this if you get a chance, mix this with some of the Pappy Van Winkle Special Reserve Rye 13 yr. It sounds nuts, just trust me on this, turns out Pappy isn't just the master of wheat, he's just the MAN at whiskey. Pour about half and half with just a LITTLE ice, tiny bit or water, watch the color, perfect looking, never seen anything like it, let it sit for one minute, and prepare to drift off into heaven. WOwwwwwwwwww, going to have to make one now!

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1763, Created:20091123183612) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:
Purchased for:$90
Info on this bottle:Pappy's cigar chomping mug
Nose:Nuts, leather, wild flowers, oak, as openers. Dried cherries, sweet citrus, apples, nutmeg, a hint of fermented grape, and a tiny whiff of chocolate. Rich and interesting while never betraying its 107 proof. I am using an open mouth glass from which to sniff and the aromas coming up the inside of the glass are slightly sweeter than the aromas from the middle of the glass........something I never noticed before.
Taste:The opening gambit is a nice thick mouthfeel that is creamy sweet but soft. I spreads until warming cinnamony spice and oak dryness overtake the sweetness but leave the rich coating of bourbony essence (all true bourbon lovers know what bourbony essence is).
Finish:Quite long for a wheat bourbon..........down in the gullet the alcohol wails a sharpe note.
Overall:'Do not forsake me oh, my Darling.........on this our wedding day!'

Me, Barleycorn, Tex Ritter, and some other imaginary cowboys are in a fine singing mood with this Pappy bourbon as a companion.

'He made a vow while in state prison, it'd be my life or his'n!'

'Look at that old hand move along, nearing High Noon!'


And I ever grow up, I'm still gone be a COWBOY!

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Review from BuffaloBill (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1339, Created:20081102133324) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:Julio's (MA)
Purchased for:$55
Info on this bottle:Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year
Nose:After opening this bottle late Spring 08' and frequenting it a few times throughout the summer months - I put it away with a shot of nitro. Here we are in November of 08 and it stands 3/4's full. Nose: The fruit has further opened along with some great wood, full character, featuring mango, coconut, lots of apple (Golden Delicious Apples). White pepper, assorted nuts, Kosher salt, peaches and ripe fruits as list keeps on going...
Taste:Huge. Packed with flavor. It's a Wow! ---> Chewy as in a granola bar of fruit and nuts. There's a short delay before it explodes in the mouth. Silky is an understatement. Serious caramel and not of the inexpensive sorts, more like hand-made gourmet quality. Fine English Toffee to the hilt. Some caraway seed in the background... the initial citrus notes are off the charts.
Finish:Coconut lingers on the finish. Very long and sultry.
Overall:A quintessential bourbon for serious enthusiasts that sustains itself in the bottle and gets better over time. BB

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1304, Created:20081001165917) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:Julio's
Purchased for:$49.99
Info on this bottle:BE/BD selected barrel
Nose:After the alcohol wafts away a bit, you have a sweetly complex nose that includes leather, nuts, and maple syrup aromas. Tight, subtle, and compelling.
Taste:Rich sweetness glides forcefully (no tiptoeing here) and explodes at midpalate into a shower of peppery alcohol bite. The thick maple honey vanilla richness is never overpowered by the alcohol and pepper, however.
Finish:Not super long........but so what? More than enough remains of this marvelous whiskey to inform you that another sip is immediately called for.
Overall:I love lookin at Pappy whilst I sip this bourbon. It is First Rate whiskey! Kudos to the BE/BD folks who had a hand in this endeavor!

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Review from spun_cookie (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1149, Created:20080615225155)
Purchased at:
Purchased for:The price of a trip to KY
Info on this bottle:Barrel Lot # *91-C-19, Bbl Location L-5-12
Nose:There is a little of the barrel in the nose. Similar to the ER and Saz on first scent.
After a min or so the vanilla crawls out for the glass and into your mind??? there is some light nutmeg, nuts, caramel and a plethora of baked goods on Christmas morning.
Taste:VANILLA??? yummy??? caramel??? and lots of it??? and some perfect burn. This bourbon is unfairly good???.
Finish:What a finish.. a ton of vanilla, caramel, light milk chocolate, and a burn that should be the measuring stick for all bourbons... in amplifies the sweet vanilla and caramel 30-45
Overall:There is good bourbon and then there is graet bourbon??? the following for PVW 15 is not misplaced and this is one of the best PVW 15s I have had.

I wish I had a bottle of this at cask strength???


...uh... for everyone???s safety I think I might had to keep all of these from the purchase... just to dangerous :D

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Review from spun_cookie (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1056, Created:20080406003923)
Purchased at:
Purchased for:50
Nose:walnut, maple, corn, and granny smith apples. Good oak smell... not heavy... just right
Taste:Mmm lot more smoke and oak and burn.. I think I know what this is too. This has opened nice with a good size (very nice) burn.
Finish:Wowthis is rich in nuts, oak leather, vanilla dark maple no fruit at all
Overall:.. Stronger in alcohol than others... light taste and changing finish. Lots of leather this time and some leather

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Review from Jon (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1049, Created:20080402080632, Updated:20080402083023) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:Liquor Barn, Lex KY
Purchased for:39.00
Proof Of this Bottle:107
Nose:Sweet spices of apple pie and pecans. Oak is definately present. May be some raisins and .... gulp!
Taste:syntax error.....syntax error....syntax error....I cant put any apostrophies in anything Ive figured out after Many attempts of entering this review.. Im tired of wasting time. please fix the problem
Finish:[Description of the lingering taste impression]
Overall:[Overall impression of this bottling]

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 975, Created:20080109150948)
Purchased at:Sigman Bottle Shop, Conyers, GA
Purchased for:$50
Proof Of this Bottle:107
Nose:A nose of many colors. It has a rich nutty aroma that gives over to some cream pie and vanilla elements, all the while the wood is drying the nose and preparing it for the next round of apples and caramel. Just exceptional in its complexity and interest. A whole week in the Bourbon 101 class should be spent examining the nose of Pappy 15. It has tremendous balance and rich diversity.
Taste:The thick sweetness that greats your mouth is just incredible. It is buttery, honey-like, and long lasting as it grabs your mouth in its carressing grip. The spice is there and has no great bite (this is a wheat bourbon), but it is not gone. It develops slowly and is ably assisted by the 107 proof. But the proof never plays a predominant role with Pappy 15, there are so many flavors that displace it.
Finish:The finish is not separate from the experience of sipping Pappy 15, the whole thing holds together so well.
Overall:To my palate, Pappy 15 is a GREAT bourbon. If you compare it to every bourbon in the entire world, save a few, it will come out on top in my opinion. If you must search in a 100 mile radius for Pappy 15, do so. I have not sipped on this bourbon for over a year and am a fool for not doing so. 'My' liquor store has a few bottles of this left..........but he won't after tomorrow. It IS that good!

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 593, Created:20060926104449)
Purchased at:Sigman Bottle Shop
Purchased for:$49
Nose:A delight to the nose. Every time you put your nose back to the glass, it is met by a different group of rich and complex aromas. I pick up vanilla, leather, clover, burnt brown sugar/maple syrup, pecan pie, oak, dark chocolate, orange, apricot, and even bubble gum. Nice, nice!
Taste:Rich, complex, creamy.........without any flaws. The caramel and vanilla sweetness give way to some warm spice with a bit of fruit and mint that drifts into oak dryness toward the back. Great balance twixt all the taste components.
Finish:A nice finish that leaves the mouth with a refreshed minty feeling. Pappy 15 has a finish by which other bourbons can be judged........good length, smooth, balanced, refreshing.
Overall:Gee, bourbon babies, this is good bourbon!! Rarely does it get better!!

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Review from TennBourbonMan (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 572, Created:20060819221533) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:Cool Springs Wine and Spirits, Franklin, TN
Purchased for:$48.00
Nose:BOOM! that's what you get when your nostrils peek over a pour of PVW15. Raisons, dates, toasted nuts moves in to some oak and vanilla, and then transitioning to the maple/burned sugar notes. Just a powerful, powerful nose and THE BEST in Bourbon for me.
Taste:Reaffirms the nose mightily: Dried Fruit, Vanilla, Oak, Pancakes and Maple Syrup - so Rich it's almost "chewy". The body helps to support that "chewyness" with it viscous, oily, coat your tongue feeling. Huge is the only way to describe the intensity. I personally like to spash, and I do mean splash a bit of water. That said, this bourbon does not taste its proof. Absolute textbook in everything I want a bourbon to be.
Finish:Surprise Surpise, once again, massive - long and lingering, the sweetness remains but is balanced out by a peppery/minty spicyness.
Overall:I think I've gushed over this one enough. It's without question my favorite bourbon made and man isn't life good when $50 will buy you the best whiskey on the planet. The good people at VW know what they are doing with this one. Again so rich, so intense, and just a powerful bourbon, best enjoyed on a quiet evening of contemplation, perhaps with a medium/full bodied cigar or a plate of apple pie. Fantastic!

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Review from bourbonv (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 452, Created:20060417152654)
Purchased at:Bourbon's Bistro Bar
Purchased for:10.00
Info on this bottle:Standard Bottle
Proof Of this Bottle:107
Nose:Caramel apples with a little hazel nut and oak.
Taste:Sweet caramel and apples with lots of oak and a hint of chocolate.
Finish:Dry oak tannins and sweet caramel that last a long time.
Overall:Very good neat with a meal - either steak or something with cheese.

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Review from abcgroup (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 313, Created:20051122172201)
Purchased at:Greens (Atlanta, GA)
Purchased for:40.99
Nose:Sweet toffee mixed with vanilla. This reminds me of raw sugar too.
Taste:This is a nice dry mix of toffee and leather. This body on this is nice. It's sweet but robust. This is not a passive drink. The vanilla really comes out to compliment the toffee and leather.
Finish:Pappy delivers a nice long finish here. The oak really pushes it's way out as it goes down. It's warm too, real warm. This is smooth but has that bourbon bite.
Overall:I love this bottle. It's simply great. I don't know what else to say. It's light years better than most and definitely better than some of its siblings. You just simply go wrong with the Pappy 15. Sip slowly, especially if you're in GA b/c this isn't easy to find.

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Review from bunghole (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 203, Created:20050607074818)
Purchased at:Kentucky - Village Liquor Store
Purchased for:$34
Nose:Splendid amber with glinting gold highlights.

Complex nose of charred oak caramel dipped apples; some florals, & nuts.
Taste:BIG bourbon flavor! Great viscosity in the glass - not too thick - not too thin. Soft in the mouth. Loud on the tongue! Caramel turns to toffee & apples to nuts. More coco than vanilla. While there is no sharp cheddar cheese in this bottle, you'll still want cut yourself a thick slice.
Finish:One of the very best finishes to be poured out of a bottle. Pappy 15 slays with ease. In a blind tasting you'd never guess it was 107 proof - no more warmth than any 90 (A.K.A. Kentucky) proof.
Overall:A consummate bottle of awesome finesse. I'd drink this everyday if I could afford it.

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Review from Blue (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 146)
Purchased at:PLCB
Purchased for:$35.00
Info on this bottle:Standard Bottle
Proof Of this Bottle:107
Nose:Detect definite aroma of Toffee, Granny Smith Apples, and roasted nuts along with a hint of oak.
Taste:The front palate is all toffee while the mid-palate is all nuts and crisp tart apple. Then the alcohol kicks in and thats all there is - fading to a more subtle warm.
Finish:The finish brings out a bit of Oaky toffee again with a lingering ethanol warmth. Almost sweet but not heavy in the least.
Overall:I would gladly put this bourbon up against any scotch currently on the market. It has great complexity and depth of flavor without burdening the palate with any lingering sourness.

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 145)
Purchased at:Sigman Spirits, Conyers, GA
Purchased for:$40
Nose:I detect toffee, peaches, vanilla, pecan pie, fresh cream, chocolate, apple, and a whiff of the barrel in which it spent so many years growing to its full complex ripeness.
Taste:In my relatively short experience with bourbon (3 plus years), this is the first time that the up front taste and the accompanying nose were so completely in harmony. Everything the nose promised is delivered. It is wonderfully viscous in the mouth. Excellent balance.
Finish:The finish is long with dryness and alcohol replacing the complex of flavors toward the back of the mouth.
Overall:Without question this is a great bourbon. It has great complexity, great nose, and great balance. It is one of an increasing number of bourbons that richly deserve to be considered as good as any alcoholic spirit on earth.

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Review from bourbonv (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 88)
Purchased at:Claimed the remaining bottle after a tasting in Bardstown
Info on this bottle:Standard bottle from liqor store
Proof Of this Bottle:107
Nose:Sweet caramel toffee with rich ripe apple and pecans. The oak is subtle, but ever present, complimenting the other aromas, not overwhelming them.
Taste:Caramel and vanilla with a hint of chocolate with apples and pecans. A blast of heat from the alcohol quickly becomes a more subdued warmth.
Finish:Sweet and lasting with a slight oaky dryness that balances well with the vanilla and caramel. The angels are dancing in your mouth.
Overall:A great after dinner drink that would go well with any dessert. This bourbon would also do well with a pipe of fine tobacco and a good book later in the day.

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