Pappy Van Winkle Bourbons Prices

Want to impress a hot chick in a bar? Discard your rusty pickup lines and tell her the difference between bourbon, whiskey, and whiskey.

But first, let’s brush up your knowledge a little bit. Whiskey is from the USA while whisky is the European version – particularly Scotch.

Bourbon is just another whiskey variety with a few twists – mostly brought about by certain laws and a few brewing process technicalities.

If she prefers bourbons and you have all night, please feel free to invite her to the link of this article to make the discussion more interesting.

Humble Beginnings of Pappy Van Winkle

Pappy Van Winkle could easily pass as a name straight out of one of Disney Pixar’s animated movies. But on the contrary, Pappy Van Winkle Bourbonyou need to be of legal age to even mouth this name (pun intended).

The patriarch of the family – Julian Proctor “Pappy” Van Winkle Sr. – began working as a salesman for the liquor wholesaler W.L. Weller & Sons in 1893 when he was only 18 years old. He obviously learned the trade by heart and 15 years later, he and another fellow salesman bought the company.

After a couple of years, they bought the company that started the sour mash whiskey distillery in 1872 – the Stitzel Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.

The variety “Old Rip Van Winkle” had just been introduced around the time the prohibition (from 1920 to 1933) on the production, sale, importation, and delivery of liquors was implemented nationwide. During that time, Stitzel-Weller Distillery was granted a license to produce whiskey for purely medicinal use.

Even after the lifting of the prohibition, the brand was not reintroduced until the company was sold in 1972 where the Van Winkle family retained the rights to the Old Rip Van Winkle. The Stitzel-Weller distillery eventually closed in 1992.

The World of Pappy Van Winkle

Pappy Van Winkle is regarded as one of the finest bourbons in the world. In fact, it is a flagship brand of bourbon whiskey and owned by the “Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery” company. It is distilled and bottled by the Sazerac Company at its Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky since 1992.

While some wines and spirits are very pricey due to quality, Pappy Van Winkle is clearly more than that. It’s like a very rare gem – very difficult to find due to low production and very high demand. It’s almost comparable to finding a needle in a haystack.

It is totally understandable as the company only releases 7,000 to 8,000 cases per year. What with numbers as little as those, the company uses a lottery system to distribute the inventory.

Even bourbon aficionados use a tracker app to locate some. Talk about dedication.

If you’ve ever seen someone so eager to see the Game of Thrones finale, you’ll get the idea of how fans of Pappy Van Winkle are painfully anticipating to know where to find one next time – even if it means eventually paying for $125 for a 1.5-oz pour at a bar or $200 to $800 at a hotel.

Curious About Pappy Van Winkle Cost?

Van Winkle Sr.’s motto was to make a quality bourbon at a profit, if possible. But he doesn’t mind a loss as long as it’s a good bourbon. That’s why Pappy Van Winkle is very reasonably priced at the manufacturer’s level.

The secondary market is an entirely different story. Because of its rarity and the ridiculously long and uncertain wait list, the prices pretty much say it all.

The following are the different Pappy Van Winkle Bourbons Prices per variety:




Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve

15 Year Old

$130 – $3,000

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve

20 Year Old

$1,500 – $7,000

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve

23 Year Old

$400 – $9,000

Old Rip Van Winkle Pappy’s Family Reserve

25 Year Old

$1,800 – $25,000

Pappy Van Winkle Handmade

10 Year Old

From $1,520

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve

15 Year Old

From $1,400

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve

20 Year Old

From $1,400

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve

23 Year Old

From $2,965

What’s So Special About Pappy Van Winkle?

  • Spirit Type: Bourbon / American Whiskey
  • Proof: 90.4 to 107
  • ABV: 45.2% to 55.3%
  • Main Ingredients: A minimum of 51% corn
  • Other Ingredients: Wheat (instead of rye or barley)

The aging process of this brand is highly commendable. In fact, its bottom-shelf product which is the 15-year old label is 2 or 3 folds older than other popular brands.

For bourbon, like whiskey, the longer it stays in the barrel, the better. They say that young bourbons don’t taste any different from each other and would only start to show distinct taste once they interact with the barrel for a longer period of time.

It has won a lot of major awards like the Double Gold Medal at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the Wine & Spirits “Spirit of the Year” award, Best-In-Class Gold Medallion in the International Wine and Spirit Competition, and almost a perfect score of 99 from the Beverage Testing Institute.

Controversy in 2015 was described as the worst year for this brand in terms of quality after it was discovered that some of the barrels during this year’s crop didn’t meet the standard quality as set by the Buffalo Trace Distillery.

According to its spokesperson, it was an effect of too much evaporation of whiskey from the casks during the period of maturation which others termed as Angel’s Share.

Serving Suggestions

Because of this bourbon’s most coveted taste, everyone would tell you to drink it neat to be able to savor its flavor and aroma. But you can also drink it with a bit of water or on the rocks.

But if you’re in the mood for food pairing, here are a few finger food to match it with:

  • Barbecue
  • Pecan pie
  • Cheese

Where Can You Buy Pappy Van Winkle?

That’s a million-dollar question that even the manufacturer of this super rare bourbon brand cannot answer directly. The fact that it doesn’t even know who gets its stock the moment the bottles leave its warehouse means it won’t have any inkling as to what retailers get the inventory at any given time.

In short, we can only guess, and perhaps, pray for divine intervention.

For many bourbon fanatics, a mere mention of Pappy Van Winkle would make their eyes glow like a first-time-dad. Okay, that’s an exaggeration but of course, you get the idea how people can be desperate about something they badly want but can’t easily have (like an unrequited love of sort), right?

And to add to the misery is that the waitlist just to get a hold on only a single bottle stands at over 10 years in some places. Crazy!