Even if you only have a passing knowledge of whiskey, you’ve probably heard the name Pappy Van Winkle. In an era when whiskey has sneaker-culture levels of hype, “Pappy” has become the most sought-after unicorn brand of them all. In the hierarchy of American whiskey (especially in the minds of famously cultish aficionados), the brand’s expressions stand above the likes of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, Blanton’s, E.H. Taylor, Jr., and even the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.
Whiskey lovers are well acquainted with Pappy Van Winkle and its easy-sipping, subtly sweet flavor, derived from a high level of wheat in the mash bill. They’re also well acquainted with the scarcity issues that have grown synonymous with the brand’s name. Every fall, the company drops its yearly release of bottles — a sort of pre-Christmas for spirits collectors — but since they don’t actually detail how many bottles will be available to the public, your chances of finding one are really a crapshoot. At best. (Befriend your local neighborhood liquor store owner and ask for a text if bottles happen to come in, you might get lucky!)
This year, Pappy Van Winkle says that the number of bottles of its 10, 12, and 15-year-old bourbons will be similar to previous years, while the much-anticipated 20 and 23-year-old offerings are available in much smaller quantities due to barrels yielding less whiskey than past years. If you have your sights set on getting a bottle of Pappy, target a bottle of its 13-year-old rye — they’re shipping more bottles of that expression than usual.
If you can manage to find a bottle of the new Pappy Van Winkle releases at your local retailer, here are the brand’s suggested retail prices:
- $69.99 – Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10 Year Old 107 proof
- $79.99 – Old Rip Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12-Year-Old
- $119.99 – Old Rip Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13-Year-Old
- $119.99 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old
- $199.99 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old
- $299.99 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old
Sadly, as these are the suggested prices, the brand can’t control whether or not stores mark it up bottles to astronomically high prices. Spoiler: Stores will definitely do that. Hopefully, they don’t get too egregious. It’s a longstanding problem that the brand seems interested (albeit vaguely) in fixing:
“We are committed to releasing quality whiskey at a reasonable cost and we hope retailers will honor what we suggest as a fair retail price,” says Julian Van Winkle, president, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery.
According to Pappy, their whiskeys will be available beginning in November. There’s no set date because different markets will receive shipments at varying times. Some stores will also save bottles for Black Friday and big holiday sales. If you miss out on a bottle in November, be aware that you might see more pop up in the coming months. Keyword: might.