I don't think I've ever written a post about a spirit before, so this is a first of sorts. And...it's another post in the series from time spent visiting the family in CT during the holidays. Along with some great wines consumed that week, I was also fortunate to drink a damn fine bourbon. Pappy Van Winkle, a premium bourbon made by Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, is the stuff of legends. Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery has been producing bourbon for over 100 years, and their family reserves are consistently awarded the highest honors in the world of fine spirits. For an excellent overview of Pappy and the Old Rip folks, see my friend ThirstySouth's excellent report on the distillery.
Pappy Van Winkle Reserve line, which includes Bourbons that have been aged for 12, 15, 20, or 23 years, represent the distillery's finest work. The 15 is a powerful spirit, checking in at 107 proof, that's 53.5% alcohol for those math-challenged readers out there.
This reserve bourbon remains untouched in oak for 15 years and develops a rather heady oak-charred nose that explodes from the glass. It also covers the palate in brawny, oak and smoke scented tastes and leaves a long, warm finish.
The 15 year is not for the faint of heart, but it certainly hits the spot after spending 2 hours shoveling a driveway (I don't get why people subject themselves to this type of weather....but that's another post). It should be noted that the 15 year is not cheap, and it's really, really hard to find as it's produced in minuscule quantities. However, if you like good bourbon, it's worth trying, at least once.