The Van Winkle Family Bourbons are some of the best and most revered bourbons available. Well… by available I mean it comes out once a year, you have to win the lottery to find a bottle. Now, out of all of the Van Winkle / Pappy Bourbons the 10 and 12 year are more available than the 15, 20 and 23 year old bourbons. But, does that make them any less revered or wanted? No. This is a fantastic wheat bourbon, that has its own, unique flavor. I think that is the most important selling point of this line of whiskey, you can’t get anything else similar.
When I first smell this bourbon I get orange, caramel, a bit of citrus and alcohol burn.
What confused me is when I took my first sip there was absolutely no alcohol burn until the very end. This is one of the smoothest bourbons I have tasted. I have tried the older Pappy versions and they have a bit more heat. Normally, I love that heat, but I was not missing it here. What surprised me is that out of any flavor, orange stuck out the most, with hits of other citrus. I have not thought that way with other bourbons. It is not overwhelming by any means, but noticeable. You will also find the hint of wood, caramel and vanilla that the wood brings out. Nothing is in your face in this bourbon, it is all mellow, calm, but there. That is what I enjoy most about this offering.
It finishes with a little bit of burn, but otherwise I would think I was drinking water. I was happy when it finally came. With that came hints of smoke and almost a white chocolate. The mouth feel is smooth and a bit viscous, so it may help me lean towards a white chocolate flavor.
Overall, for $75 it is a great drink. I would rank this an 8/10. It is not something, if available, I would buy every day as I prefer a harsher whiskey. Though, it is great to have as something different in the collection.
Oddly, and I haven’t done this before, but this is something I would enjoy eating with Scallops or a sea food dish as it would not overpower the subtle flavors and it would enhance the citrus. I would not normally think of a bourbon as a good pairing with either, until I met this.