Old Rip Van Winkle (2016)
This was one of those moments where things just come together for me. I’d been searching for a bottle of ANY of the Van Winkle line for a while. Of course, I’ve had it at bars for years, usually making connections with managers so that I get a whack at trying the line the night it hits the counter. I’ve had them all, but this bottle, finally, is my own. I refuse to pay much over retail for it. It was a rule I made when my hunt began. Finally, when my local liquor store owner gave me an unexpected call to pick one up, I knew that my loyalty to him had been well-founded. So, without further delay, the review.
– Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery
– Spirit: Bourbon Whiskey
– Aged: 10 Years
– Proof: 107
– Purchase Price: $79.99
Nose: Sweet notes of honey and raisins with the faintest amount of plum. Next, a slight floral scent blossoms forth. It burns clean with a slight ethanol tinge right at the end that lingers no more than a second.
Palate: You can definitely taste the heat from the 107 proof. It hits the tongue and tastes like a much hotter whiskey, but it nearly immediately melts into complex flavors of dried raisin, tobacco, and country oak.
Afterglow: Dried cherry, honey, and singed caramel fall off the palate and fade back into the oak and charcoal that we know so well. It leaves the taste of the barrel on your tongue for a few seconds after the rest of the flavors fade away.
Conclusion: There is no denying, it is a good pour. People typically have two schools of thought about Van Winkle. One school believes that Van Winkle doesn’t live up to the hype, the other believes it does. I believe that part of the fun was in the chase, but now that I have it, I would be hesitant to pour it for less experienced friends. I personally feel it was worth the price, but everyone has their own opinion.
Greg Sinadinos started his spirits journey writing a whiskey periodical for Fine Tobacco NYC Magazine. He began answering review requests under a social media page he named “Whiskey Culture,” which quickly merged with Greg’s passion for connecting with others and his interest in history.
Today, Greg travels the country not just looking for great whiskey, but also exploring the history and individuals that the whiskey community is founded upon. He has authored “Whiskey History From Around The World” and is the host of “The Rickhouse” web series.