Bourbon Reviews:




Bottling NameVan Winkle Special Reserve Lot B
Bottled ByBuffalo Trace Distillery Frankfort,KY
TypeKentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Alcohol content90.4 Proof
Availability US: Available Japan: Unknown Duty Free: Not Available Europe: Unknown
Age12
Views (since 20080612) 62120
Bottling InfoVan Winkle Special Reserve is the perfect combination of age and proof. This sweet, full bodied whiskey has been described by some as ???NECTAR.??? We agree! The 12 years of aging and medium proof of 90.4 seem to be just right in creating a very pleasant drink of whiskey. This fine whiskey can compete with any excellent cognac as an after dinner drink. The overall impression is rich and deep.
Well crafted???elegant, stately???balanced beautifully???

- Paul Pacult???s Spirit Journal



Review from JLH3 (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 2195, Created:20130519235607)
Purchased at:AJ's Grocery
Purchased for:Approx $55
Nose:Fruitcake. Vanilla and pears. Some spice.
Taste:Caramel and sugar. Apples. Just the right mouthfeel.
Finish:Carries the flavors out well. Some spice right at the end.
Overall:One of my all-time favorites. One you take with you to the desert island.

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Review from midwestinNY (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1937, Created:20110315234941)
Purchased at:Online
Purchased for:$42
Info on this bottle:Van Winkle Special Reserve, Lot B
Nose:Soft velvety body, smells aged and warm. Almost carmalized sugar and maple, really really sweet, but my bottle has been breathing a while, remember it being a little more aggressive and spicy at first on the nose. Once in the glass you get that stronger punch of spice. Was holding my breathe after getting a deep pull. It turns into a few different smells being held deep in there, I swear I got bubblegum, LOL. Not like a blast of bazooka joe, but it was there for me! And plenty of oak and tobacco.
Taste:Taste is phenomenal, this might be the most balanced of the all the VW potions I've had. Meaning you get that character of PVW with the very very rich wheat character and all the other lovely flavors married together of spice and maple and caramel and tobacco spice, but none jumps to the foreground demanding attention from the others. Like pappy 15 is SO sweet, where ORVW 10 is kind of spicy and not as sweat, this one is balanced.
Finish:Smooth but gets a LITTLE bumpy right at the end, that's the very one SMALL drawback, needed a longer finish for me. If it's going to be real balanced up front, something else needs to stick out, this could have been it for me. But again verrrrrrrrrrry smooth.
Overall:One of the best simply, so classy in it's architecture balanced and sophisticated. So enjoyable. I don't know why, but I love ORVW 10 right now the best. The improvement from 10 to 12 really wasn't that noticeable for me, not dramatic. The BIG jump comes in the 15, that has a completely different profile and character. The best value for me is at the 10 and 15, but have an unopened bottle of 20 back in Indiana. I'll have to get into that sooner than later ;)

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Review from Don Galligan (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1722, Created:20091013221132, Updated:20091013221812)
Purchased at:Idaho State Liquor Dispensary
Purchased for:$47
Nose:Not bad. Lots of old leather and some dark cherry and oak.
Taste:Starts with Dark cherry and then goes into clove spice, and finishes mildly peppery with a subdued burn.
Finish:Short. Only about 30 seconds with a subdued barrel char and oak.
Overall:I guess I'm differing with everyone here, but I thought it was a solid bourbon, with a great mouthfeel and subtile flavors, but all in all it was much less than I was expecting for the cost and the reputation. For what I paid I could get a couple other wheaters that I like better. Solid, but in the end...overrated!

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Review from dnsouthky (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1525, Created:20090323123914)
Purchased at:Dixie Lee Wines and Liquors Farragut, TN
Purchased for:40's
Info on this bottle:Special Reserve Lot B Frankfort KY
Nose:[Olfactory impressions]sweet bread pudden with vanailla, caramel, cinnamon, and a spice taste I cant quite put my finger on after 3/4 a bottle.
Taste:[Description of the initial taste imspression]smooth and relaxing takes the bite out of the day with its sweet vanialla taste with a hint of something I just cant put words to discribe
Finish:[Description of the lingering taste impression]sweet and lasting --- makes you feel inside like a warm spring day sitting watching the cumberland river flow by toward the falls
Overall:[Overall impression of this bottling] I have a three bottles of 20 and a 23 but why bother opeining them. This is great for my once a day relaxing drink and the price is a much better value for every day chilling out mode

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1505, Created:20090226164856)
Purchased at:Sigman Bottle Shop, Conyers, GA
Purchased for:High $40s
Nose:Vanilla, nice but subdued nutty aromas, soft oaky char, light leather, apricots, oranges, and nutmeg work together like a great Blue Grass Band! Superbly balanced and nuanced.
Taste:My goodness, it's good. A subtle upfront soft sweet foray that knows your name and is in no hurry. The thick sweet corn/vanilla and the charred oak are singing the same song in hushed accompaniment to mild spices. Sing the Song, Children!
Finish:Soft, subtle..........it still knows your name!
Overall:A bourbon that trusts its drinker's appreciation of its merits.

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Review from BuffaloBill (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1438, Created:20090120145921)
Purchased at:Cape Cod - Spring of 2008
Purchased for:(see last post)
Info on this bottle:Van Winkle Lot-B 12 Year
Nose:At 75% finished this bottle is still as good as the day I opened it - nearly a year ago. Carnations, roses, toffee, and some residual cherry essence now.
Taste:Georgeous. Good rye and honey tones coming through...
Finish:Extra-dry on the way down with long lingering flowers.
Overall:A Classic Bourbon. The number on the lower right side of the label = 04-6084. And it was a dusty, so whether or not that designates a 2004 bottling? I don't know... If you have knowledge of this, PM Me. And cheers to our new president today. Thumbs-up to this wonderful country. We've been blessed. BB

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Review from enzo (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1428, Created:20090115233556, Updated:20090115233831) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:Austin, TX
Purchased for:$41
Info on this bottle:Van Winkle 12 yr Lot B
Nose:wonderful mix of vanilla, apple, apricot, pear, hint of orange, honey, mint, caramel, leather, oak and tobacco. The oak lingers. very sweet and aromatic, but well balanced at the same time.
Taste:sweet, vanilla and fruit, followed by a slow build of spice. gets gradually hotter like cinnamon... then you taste a bit of leather and tannin...which fades into a slightly smokey, pleasant oak
Finish:Not the longest finish... but it is very natural... with a lingering dried fruit, vanilla and oak flavor. It's a somewhat dry woody finish... but very pleasant, leaving you wanting more.
Overall:This stuff is really good. Delightful, well-balanced, tasty bourbon. It's great neat. It becomes quite a bit more floral on the rocks.... and has a more pronounced tobacco flavor as well. Highly Recommended!

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Review from azoth_melusina (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1373, Created:20081128162556, Updated:20081128163550)
Purchased at:PLCB store in Media
Purchased for:$44.99
Info on this bottle:Lot B
Nose:candied citrus; brandied fruitcake (but odd fruitcake consisting of carmelized bananas, currants); even an alcohol punch that spreads evenly into the air and up the nostrils and into the pineal gland...
Taste:such a perfect melding of the whole, i can hardly point out the parts: there's the wood and spice (albeit it assertively mellow); i'm reminded of the better WTs i've had; it goes into an intitial warmth-sweetness, morphs into a slight spiciness then becomes a woody-musty-back-of-the-tongue loitering gentleman of deep and mysterious impression. there's the upfront....and there's the suggested. the balance is perfect
Finish:a pleasant hint of mustiness that i haven't noticed in the first 1/3 of the bottle (it's been open for 2 days); a nice pleasant burn rises into the nasal area, like when you've had just the right amount of wasabi that asserted, but in no way overpowered the totality; i could go on and on...peppery raisins, butterscotch slathered scones, orange marmalade without the bitterness of a good orange marmalade!
Overall:wow. it's hard to compare as you develop a sense of profiles, mashbills, objective knowledge, subjective gnosis when you think of the few other outstanding pours...last year, i can remember being amazed at both Rare Breed and, even moreso, RReserve101...this compares easily. at the price, i know it's a 'deal'...but i need to revisit those others and see what satisfies so much and costs not so much...

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Review from BuffaloBill (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1198, Created:20080716214421)
Purchased at:Harwichport, MA (Cape Cod)
Info on this bottle:Van Winkle Lot B
Nose:Roses & Carnations. Floral. Caramel & Vanilla. Wheat.
Taste:Slowly we turn, step by step... then we burn'em! Smooth and slow to burn with light and integrated flavors.
Finish:Medium length.
Overall:How can you not love it? It's the One and the Only. Lot B !!!

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Review from spun_cookie (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1072, Created:20080422225140)
Purchased at:Ritz Carlton Dallas
Purchased for:$20
Nose:caramel, vanilla nd sweet molasis. Just a great nose
Taste:Vanilla, and candy corn...
Finish:Vanilla then oak. there is a nice blend of soft leather and oak with a graet vanilla overtone.
Overall:This is just a graet bourbon. It cost me the price of half a bottle for 3 oz, but I am just glad I could get this at the Hotel Bar. I am sure the Knobb was $12...

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Review from bourbonguyjapan (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1046, Created:20080331050852)
Purchased at:trade :)
Nose:Vanilla and sweet.
Taste:A lighter bourbon that is comparable to a cognac or brandy. Well-balanced and smooth.
Finish:Smooth and great!
Overall:I can say that this is stuff is so good. I gave some to a discerning friend who swears the gospel to Japanese Whiskey, and even he liked this stuff. So that should say something.

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 961, Created:20080103141853, Updated:20080103142036) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:On yan side of freeway
Purchased for:$42 - she going up
Nose:Vanilla and pecan pie, with a whiff of leather alongside some allspice and a skosh of oak wood. Just nice!
Taste:Most good enough to make you think you somewhere else. This bourbon has great balance...........rich sweetness played off agin a rip of spice and pepper. Never loses its cool. The house could be afire and ole Lot B would be making like a cucumber..........cool.
Finish:Right there with the nose and taste. Balanced, bold but not agressive. Nothing to prove........no need, if you ain't got the story line by now, what's the point?
Overall:This is a very, very, fine bourbon. 'My' liquor store just laid in about 4 or 5 cases, so keep this quiet and maybe I can still get some when I grow up.

Every third Thursday, me and Barleycorn go out in 'his' truck (claims he won my truck in a poker game that I can't even remember............damn truck is only 4 years old and still has most of the seats and windows in it too!) to look for some Lot 'A', but so far we ain't had no success some a'tall.

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Review from spun_cookie (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 911, Created:20071118180712)
Purchased at:Bevmo Sac, CA
Purchased for:$39.99
Proof Of this Bottle:90.4
Nose:Rocks:
Sweet molasses, vanilla and plums. Great nose that is even and rich
Taste:Caramel and vanilla, light spice and honey
Finish:Rocks:
0-15 seconds gives a nice even light burn with vanilla and vanilla spice.
15-30 seconds a light bit of leather that is harmonious with the vanilla and spice.
30-45 seconds is a smother version of the first 30 seconds with a great sensation across my tongue
45-60 seconds is more of the same.

There is no real step drop of taste of feeling on this. Very nice well over 90 seconds. There are some slight tannins I can detect (as see in other reviews), but no pucker factor.
Overall:I have to agree with the complexities of a cognac or good wine. The lasting flavors and finish is remarkable. Worth the entire $40 I paid for it.

For the money better than the 20 yr (have not had the 23 yet - and may not at ~$300 a bottle).

A must have on the shelf.

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Review from Kendall (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 837, Created:20070911171418) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:Liquor Mart II , Richmond,Ky.
Purchased for:41.00
Info on this bottle:Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 year lot b
Proof Of this Bottle:90.4
Nose:Sweet, rich, dangerous woman perfume. Leather, light cinnamon, honey.
Taste:Caramel. Not as exciting as the nose.
A single ice cube changed it for the better.
Finish:Long, wet and silky smooth.
Overall:Excellent nose, subdued taste, nice finish. Will buy another bottle.

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Review from crowslex (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 799, Created:20070705095530) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:Boston, Ma
Purchased for:42
Info on this bottle:12 year old lot B
Nose:Sweet with an edge.... Wood with Carmel.
Taste:A great blend of slight sweet with oaks/ woods.
Finish:Very smooth...Great balance
Overall:This is a great bourbon...one of the best I have had. It has balance in all the areas that bourbon needs to. It is complex if you take your time but its so good it is hard to slow down.

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Review from Jon (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 775, Created:20070529075145)
Purchased at:liquor barn, lexington
Purchased for:40.00
Info on this bottle:12 yr/ Lot B
Proof Of this Bottle:90.4
Nose:In this order; Sweet caramel, corn, vanilla, apples, pears, banana, oak, cloves. Very nice, but many top shelf bourbons have these first impressions.
Taste:Here's where the *%#& goes down!!! Everybody elses bourbon that is!! Remember those occasional vivid dreams as a child of stumbling across a house made of pecan logs and candy decorations, as just as your hand, filled with heavenly wonders comes towards your mouth with excitment reaching a climax. . . the dream ends. Here's your dream in the form of a bourbon named PAPPY VAN WINKLE SPECIAL RESERVE LOT B!!
Finish:Think of something sweet and you can find it in there. Easy alcohol burn with a medium lingering finish end with caramel and oak but not too much of either.
Overall:The best bourbon I have ever tasted! Better than my previous favorites; four roses single barrel and wild turkey rare breed.

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Review from warhawk (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 734, Created:20070331184836)
Purchased at:Hyvee Liqor
Purchased for:38
Nose:Soft and deep
Taste:rich and velvety
Finish:Wonderful
Overall:My second favorite right behind Hirsch 16 year. I just wish I hadn't wasted 40 bucks on that god aweful Elijah Craig 18 year. This stuff rocks! (you can tell I am not a professional reviewer!)

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 632, Created:20061106151845, Updated:20061106155158)
Purchased at:Sigman Bottle Shop, Conyers, GA
Purchased for:$38
Nose:A touch of oak, a bit of allspice, some vanilla, a pinch of pecan pie, a wee hint of mint........and gobs of fruit. Have you been in a fruit warehouse when some discarded fruit started to ferment on its own? Raisins, corn, ripe fruit, all are a part of Lot B's nose. It is there.........look for it.
Taste:Smooth, sweet in the ripe fruit way. Add some vanilla, wood, and mild spice and you are where you should be, and, on time too!! I have said that I prefer bourbons that are viscous and creamy, and for sure, I like those which have those qualities, but Lot B has neither and still lacks for nothing! Once again, my bourbon criteria must be revised!
Finish:A moderately long finish that hosts a bit of peppery spice doing a tap dance across the back of the mouth. Lot B favors you with a complete bourbon package!
Overall:Lot B gives little away to the other great Van Winkle bourbons (how do the VW's do it?). For less than $40 each, you can have (in my opinion) two of the bestest bourbons available today.........Lot B and Four Roses Single Barrel. These bourbons don't compete for your affection, they both deserve it..........they are completely different and equally good! Go now, get yourself a bottle of Lot B, and if you don't like it, my advice is to give up bourbon drinking!! I do have some strong opinions, don't I?

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Review from bourbonv (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 467, Created:20060426085656)
Purchased at:Bourbon's Bistro Bar
Purchased for:8.00
Info on this bottle:Standard Bottle
Proof Of this Bottle:90.4
Nose:Fruity with dark fruits - dates and very ripe apricots, rich caramel toffee, old fine leather and oak.
Taste:Fruity sweet with dates and caramel with some oak wood.
Finish:Nice dry wood with sweet caramel fruit.
Overall:Drink it neat with dessert or a good cigar.

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 443, Created:20060403150308, Updated:20060403155904)
Purchased at:Sigman Bottle Shop, Conyers, GA
Purchased for:$35
Nose:A very satisfying nose with many elements. I allowed the bourbon to sit in the glass a while before nosing. Wafting up were dry oak, vanilla, caramel, corn, leather, clover, nuts, citrus, and a slight oily aroma. Excellent bourbon nose!
Taste:The caramel greets the front of the mouth along with vanilla and a bit of dry oak. There is some spice that enters and plays nicely along the top of the tongue. There is also a rich viscous corn and brown sugar sweetness that lingers in the mouth. An excellent taste expeerience. The alcohol is quite subdued and never shouts at you.
Finish:The finish is moderate and restrainted but not passive. The flavors carry through and the oak dryness is welcome, complementing the sweetness. Very good balance.
Overall:The bourbon is an excellent buy and one of my favorites. I have finished off a number of bottles of Lot B over the last 5 years or so, and never have I been disappointed in it. Yes, it is highly recommended!

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Review from bourbonv (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 321, Created:20051225135724)
Purchased at:Gemelli's Wine and Spirits, Brownsboro Rd.
Info on this bottle:This is a 2005 bottling from Frankfort, Ky. not Lawrenceburgh
Proof Of this Bottle:90.4
Nose:Candy apples - caramel and ripe apple with some fine leather and oak wood. Not a complex nose, but a pleasant nose.
Taste:Sweet caramel and pecans with some ripe fruit - maybe apple but possibly apricot, with some nice smokey oak wood leading into the finish. Very smooth with a nice mouth feel that has no burn but is slightly thick and oily.
Finish:Very nice oak wood and caramel that transmutes into a wonderfull maple syrup after about a minute, before leaving with a hint of liquorice.
Overall:This is quickly becoming my favorite Van Winkle product. I would rather have this than the Pappy 20 or 23 year old versions. Older is not always better and this product is proof of that statement. Drink it neat and drink it often. It goes well with just about any situation.

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Review from abcgroup (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 306, Created:20051107182253)
Purchased at:Beverage Resort (Kennesaw, GA)
Purchased for:$35
Info on this bottle:Van Winkle Special Reserve, Lot B
Proof Of this Bottle:90.4
Nose:The nose on this bottle is sweet, like a fusion b/t sweet caramel and honey. It's a very candied nose. Once poured into a glass though, the alcohol becomes more apparent.
Taste:A nice mild and sweet flavor, but not too sweet. I'd say bourbon sweet. It's definitely not charred or overtly oakey. On the tip of the tongue the sweet caramel flavor comes out. The back of the palate brings out the malt (as noted by Blue above).
Finish:The finish is smooth, really smooth. No burn or bite. Only a slight hint of vanilla.
Overall:I like this bourbon. Of all the Van Winkle's I've had, I'd say it's on the lower rung of the Van Winkle ladder. I'd call this Van Winkle's table bourbon, a damn good drink and one that's worth multiple visits, but not stellar. Don't get me wrong, I think a bottle of this should be in your house, and you should be glad to give to guests, but it's not their best.

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Review from JoeBourbon (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 275, Created:20050924162031)
Purchased at:PALCB
Purchased for:$32.00
Info on this bottle:Van Winkle Special Reserve, Lot B
Nose:Intense oak and spices. Very nice.
Taste:Exquisite. Not nearly as sweet as the older versions. Not rough at all. Quite complex.
Finish:Medium somewhat dry finish.
Overall:This is very good bourbon. As far as wheaters go, it has to rank as one of the best. Highly recommended.

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Review from Blue (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 158)
Purchased at:Local PLCB
Purchased for:$32.00
Proof Of this Bottle:90.4
Nose:The aroma was luscious and thick with notes of orange peel, apples, pears, plums and honey. It was delightfully both deep and complex but in no way was it overpowering.
Taste:The front palate was a pure melody of honied fruits. The mid palate transitioned to a malty bread taste mixed with caramel. This crescendo of flavor just lingered forever with the nuanced interplay between the malt and caramel gradually evolving in the mouth. The texture seemed to evolve along with the taste - going from heavy to light. Truly a delight.
Finish:The finish was of moderate length and subdued when compared to the mid palate. Strong impressions of charred oak, tannins, and vanilla finished this beauty off as it trailed pleasantly to its conclusion.
Overall:The folks at VW really hit a home run with this one. It combines the complexity of a cognac with the depth of the very best single malt scotches. This is a rare and wonderful elixir that I commend to everyone for their own personal trial.

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