When we think of the state of Kentucky, a few things immediately spring to mind. Rolling landscapes, copper-colored trees, and a rich agricultural heritage borne of the fertile land and hard working nature of its inhabitants. Alongside this, we can add high quality bourbon whiskey, made with love and care, and keeping alive traditions which stretch back to simpler times. These were times when everyone worked the land, and the Kentucky men were in need of a good drink at the end of the long summer days, out tilling the fields. It is this spirit of the past which is kept alive in Pappy Van Winkle whiskies; award winning distillations coming out of the Old Rip Van Winkle distillery which has been operating since the mid 19th century, and which is still going strong today.
Pappy Van Winkle whiskeys are those that go to great lengths to express the history and heritage behind this unique brand. Like the character of Rip Van Winkle in the fairy tale, in which an old man falls asleep and wakes up a hundred years later, the whiskies of Pappy Van Winkle are a relic from a better time - packed full of deep, intense flavor, alongside subtle notes which have seen them highly lauded and rated by various awarding bodies.
The distillery itself is, of course, a family affair. Today, the Old Rip Van Winkle distillery is still run using traditional methods in Frankfort, Kentucky by Julian Van Winkle III, and his son Preston - the third and fourth generation of Van Winkles to take the helm. This family-run company has managed to carve out a strong name for themselves, offering a more authentic and story-based, independent feel to their produce, in comparison to some of the big name bourbon whiskey companies out there in the state. Using pre-prohibition recipes, and a unique blend of corn, wheat and barley (instead of the usual corn, barley and rye blend typical in bourbon whiskies), they produce a bourbon which is notably smoother and more suitable for gentle ageing than those of their peers and competitors. The Old Rip Van Winkle distillery, and their Pappy Van Winkle whiskies (named after the original founder of the company) are whiskies for true bourbon lovers, interested in tasting the real deal from the golden age of distillation.