Julian Van Winkle’s Legacy

Julian Van Winkle’s Legacy

Pappy Van Winkle has been on the brain this past week and I realized that it might be a good idea to be clear about what is actually in those very sought after bottles.   I’ve written about Julian Van Winkle Sr. in recent blog posts.  He was the man behind Stitzel-Weller and the establishment of that distillery.  He made Old Fitzgerald bourbon and his son maintained the Old Rip Van Winkle brand copyright after the distillery closed its doors in the 70’s.  United Distillers, which later became Diageo, became owners of Stitzel-Weller, but Julian Van Winkle Jr. maintained access to old stocks from the warehouses.  He (“Pappy’s” son) began bottling those products under the Old Rip Van Winkle label.  In 1981, Julian Van Winkle III became owner of the family...

Is Pappy Van Winkle Worth the Price?

Is Pappy Van Winkle Worth the Price?

One of the questions I get most often is…Is Pappy Van Winkle worth the price? That is always a difficult question to answer because the price is so difficult to pin down. The retail prices may be worth it-they are excellent whiskeys- but, I also warn people against getting wrapped up in popular trends. Everyone has different tastes and it’s always a good idea to try before you buy. I know that it has become a cult whiskey, but it is important that you know the truth behind the price mark-ups. Suggested retail prices for Van Winkle Products are as follows: 10 year old Old Rip Van Winkle- $49 12 year old Van Winkle Special Reserve (“Lot B”)- $59 Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 year old- $79 Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye- $99 Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve...

Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle

Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle

  Everyone knows how hard it is to get their hands on a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, but not many know who the man was on the label. “Pappy” Van Winkle (Julian Van Winkle, Sr.) began his whiskey career in 1893 when he became a salesman at W.L. Weller and Son.  He sold brand names such as Old W.L.Weller, Mammoth Cave, Hollis Rye, Cabin Still, Harlem Club, Silas B. Johnson and Stone Root Gin.  His time there was very educational and he soon became a very influential figure in the company.  In 1908, he and fellow salesman Alex Farnsley bought the Weller wholesale business after William Lerue Weller’s death.  W.L.Weller did not have a distillery of its own, but he was able to secure a contract with the Stitzel Distillery in Louisville.  Once Prohibition...

Old Fitzgerald- the Survivor.

Old Fitzgerald- the Survivor.

Everyone wants Pappy Van Winkle, but Old Fitzgerald came first. The Old Fitzgerald brand (originally Jn.E.Fitzgerald bourbon) was created by S.C. Herbst around 1870. In the 1890’s Herbst purchased the Old Judge Distillery and renamed it the Old Fitzgerald Distillery. The Old Fitzgerald brand survived Prohibition (It was sold as medicinal whiskey) and was purchased soon after by Pappy Van Winkle for $10,000. He introduced to the recipe “a whisper of wheat” which the Van Winkle line is famous for. It was distilled at Stitzel-Weller until the distillery was sold in 1972 to Norton Simon. It would later be bought by United Distillers (now Diageo). United Distillers built the modern Bernheim Distillery in 1992 and production of the wheated line of...