It didn’t used to be this practice. Approximately 25 years ago, few people cared about Pappy van Winkle whiskey. Though the product out of the Buffalo Trace distillery in Frankfort, Ky ., has always been small–around 7,000 cases per year–it was still relatively easy to find. Now its bottles are some of the most sought-after in the world.
In 1996, the Beverage Institute leaved a 20 -year-old bottle of Pappy a 99 out of 100, its highest composition ever for a whiskey. In-demand chefs such as Sean Brock began affirming their infatuation with the stuff. Anthony Bourdain even laughter that he was getting a Pappy tattoo on his back. Now a bottle of the 23 -year-old liquid can run to more than $ 3,000 on the grey market.
The hype exists for a reasonablenes: Pappy is immense. Members of the Van Winkle family have been aging and coalescing for four contemporaries, and they know what they’re doing. My personal favorite is the 15 -year version, which to me is the purest sample of the recipe–one that contains more wheat in place of rye, which imparts the whiskey a softer, more inviting reputation. For those who purely see this as a numbers game, the top prizes are the 20 – and 23 -year bottles, but to me, they taste over-oaked and are not worth the price tag.
In the past seven years, however, the craft distilling thunder has skyrocketed the number of U.S. distilleries, from 560 to more than 1,800. Which affords batch of options for whiskey alcoholics looking for their own cult favourites. Now are five to help soften the sting of missing out on that coveted bottle of Pappy.