Pappy Van Winkle 2012 23 Year Old Family Reserve 100% Stitzel-Weller
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Pappy Van Winkle 20 yo ‘Family Reserve
Nose: Dark earth, forest floor, chocolate, tobacco, prunes, with a hint of minerality that was mostly absent from the other expressions. This reminds me of a dark, anise-y red wine, maybe something from Sicily. A drop or two of water reveals heady vanilla, apricot custard, geranium leaf, plum, pine, and cherry while leaving that humus-y earthiness unchanged.
Palate: immensely powerful: dark cocoa, dry tobacco, toasted walnuts, dates, buckwheat, and coffee bean, but all tightly integrated with tingly tannins. It’s dry in the sense of powdery, with an incredibly long, earthy finish. That characteristic tartness I noticed in all of the other expressions is still present, but only as a faint whisper. Pappy Van Winkle 20 yo ‘Family Reserve
Good, we are not going to make a fuss about this one. It’s not from the old Stitzel-Weller Distillery anymore, it’s made at Buffalo Trace instead, apparently. Gotta love the bourbon bloggers. Having said that, I really enjoyed the last or second-last Stitzel-Weller Pappy 20 (2012, WF 89). Colour: full gold. Nose: it’s a very fruity one, we’re not that far from some, say Benriach. Plums, guavas, gooseberries, plus a lot of custard and crème au beurre, as well as a rather lovely earthiness. The most Scottish of all bourbons I could try (but granted, I haven’t tried tens of thousands of them). I’m even thinking of some brighter cognacs, imagine. Pistachio paste. Pappy Van Winkle 20 yo ‘Family Reserve
Mouth: very good, a tad on apples and calvados at first (almost more so than the Brooklyn rye), then rather on teas and crushed almonds and walnuts. I’m finding less fruitiness on the palate, but there are melons and peaches. What I really enjoy here is how it’s not just vanilla, coconut and ginger/cinnamon cake. Finish: a pile of sponge cake covered with preserved apricots and vanilla-ed whipped cream. Or some kind of puff pastry filled with custard and peach cubes. Whatever. Comments: excellent and surprisingly fresh. Too bad every Tom, Dick and Harry are trying to flip these