Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 2013

Van Winkle Rye1

Finishing up on my Easter reviews, I brought out a nice sample sent to me by /u/EMoneySC2 , which we swapped a few months ago and I’ve been saving for a special occasion.

My uncle isn’t that huge into Bourbon, however he hears enough to get by, knowing what can be tasty, what’s wanted, etc. And last time we had a family get-together, he mention Pappy.

Because he had heard the hype on Pappy. We all have. And in Canada it hits mythic status because only 12 bottles hit one province, to be picked up in the night by those in the know.

There’s even a section of the LCBO website for it. Yeah. We get the 10 and the 12 year. Only $80 and $100, respectively. And they sell out 1 hour before the store opens.

So to say the least, I’ve avoided the Pappy madness. Not really my scene. If I see it at a bar, I’ll try a dram, review it, probably get in trouble.

So to say the least, when I asked for it in a swap, I expected to hear “No” quite quickly. And then I ended up with a sample. So I had to save it for my uncle to see what all the hub-bub was about.

And that’s where we’re at. I’m now reviewing Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 2013

So from what I’ve read, this is made up of two ryes from the Old Medley and Bernheim distilleries, of which Buffalo Trace now owns the old stock. It’s, according to the website, the oldest rye available today.

I don’t know if that’s true, anyone know?

Oh whatever, let’s get to the review.

Van Winkle Rye2

Price: Never available in Ontario

Region: Kentucky

Abv: 47.8%

Colour: Deep brown

Nose: Mint, eucalyptus, yeast, fresh oatmeal muffins, maple

Very, very herbal smells off of this one. And just a touch of sweetness. Seriously though, this is all herbal.

What have I got myself into?

Taste: Lime, dough, caramel, cinnamon, banana chips, tonic water

Okay, so this tastes like the bastard child of Irish and Canadian whiskies. And I like it.

There’s less going on than I thought there would be though. I was expecting crazy caramels and spices, yet it’s similar to other regions. Interesting.

Finish: Cinnamon, cocoa nibs, raspberry, mousse, floral notes, mushroom, tarragon, butter

Holy Christ Pole Dancing for Buddha, that’s an amazing finish. I… where do I even start? That.. I mean… it’s so amazing.

Okay, this is an amazing finish, tons of interesting, growing notes. I mean, I… wow.

Conclusion: A finish does not make a whisky amazing. That being said, it sure as shit drags the score higher. The nose isn’t my favourite, the taste is nice and a new experience, and the finish is a car that can do 500 MPG in the fast lane and drive itself.

Drink this for the finish, have a dram somewhere. Would I buy it? Probably not. The taste and nose don’t have enough going on for me to gush about. I like the finish, it’s one of the best I’ve had, and that’s where the majority of the score comes from.


Bourbon review #14, Kentucky #12, Whiskey Network review #218

1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #125

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