August 31, 2013 – While the annual release of the Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve series of Bourbons always draws overwhelming response from Bourbon lovers, the upcoming 2013 release could be one of the most sought-after yet. While all of the whiskey used for the 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve has come from the old Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville until now, supplies of that whiskey are running out.
“This might be the last year…I’d have to look at the barrel model to be 100% sure,” Preston Van Winkle said during a telephone interview with WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie for this week’s episode (#440). “There aren’t too many bottles of anything produced at Stitzel-Weller left on this Earth.”
Van Winkle, Pappy Van Winkle’s great-grandson and the marketing director for Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, and his father are selecting the final barrels for this year’s releases this week at Buffalo Trace Distillery. Buffalo Trace started distilling for the Van Winkle brands in 2002, 11 years after the distillery on Louisville’s west side was closed. Stitzel-Weller was the place where Pappy Van Winkle perfected his wheated Bourbons while producing Old Fitzgerald and other whiskies. Since its closing, Stitzel-Weller has achieved almost mythical status among Kentucky’s Bourbon distilleries.
This year’s release of the Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbons is expected around October 1, with limited availability for the 15, 20, and 23 year old whiskies.
Note: Preston Van Winkle contacted us on September 17 to request a correction on this story, saying that he did not specifically say that this year’s Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23 would be the final one with whiskey from the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. After reviewing the audio from the interview in Episode #440, this story was edited to include his exact quotes from the interview. While we strive for 100% accuracy in all of our content, we are always glad to correct errors when necessary.
Links: Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon