Pappy Van Winkle is Kentucky Straight Bourbon. It was produced by the Stitzel-Weller Distillery which ceased operations in June 1992. It means there’s probably not much 20yo spirit left. It’s now part of the Buffalo Trace imperium.
Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20 years old
Nose: expressive. Immediately mentholated. Slightly bubblegummy / cotton candy, some darker sugar, very big notes of varnish. Tobacco and old leather. Vanilla and other more powerful spices (white pepper). Much more oak than commonly found in bourbon, but still within the limits. Slightly dusty.
Mouth: hmm interestingly weird. Not very complex, pretty much on burnt caramel and liquid wood extract (does that exist?). A bit too much oak I’m afraid. Pine trees with pepper and big hints of herbal cough syrup. Unique but rather flat, lacking richness that I do find in other bourbons.
Finish: not very long, woody and resinous.
This Pappy Van Winkle 20 gained a bunch of awards but for me it’s not really worth the price (around € 110). I fear bourbon has more to say at younger ages.