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Pappy Van Winkle 23 year old BourbonWhat is the availability of Pappy Van Winkle and where can you buy it and find it now? Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery tells BourbonBlog.com that their Van Winkle and Pappy Van Winkle Bourbons will be back on shelves toward the end of November 2011.

The popularity of Van Winkle whiskey collection has led to a short supply.

The Van Winkle collection consists of Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon aged 10 years, available in 90 proof and 107 proof; Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon, aged 12 years; Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbons, aged 15 years, 20 years and 23 years; and Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye Whiskey, aged 13 years.

Which is YOUR favorite? Tell us under comments and leave a reply at the end of this article!

Known for their smoother and sweeter flavor, Van Winkle bourbons are aged years longer than most Bourbons and have gained a strong reputation among some connoisseurs.

The Van Winkle line of whiskeys has won a number of awards through the years, including 2010 “Spirit of the Year” from Wine and Spirits Magazine for Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old; “Best of Show” and “Best Whiskey” at the 2010 Los Angeles Wine and Spirits Competition; a double gold medal at the 2011 San Francisco World Spirits Competition; and gold medals at both the 2011 International Wine and Spirits Competition and the 2011 Los Angeles Wine and Spirits Competition.

Pappy Van Winkle Collection of whiskeys and Bourbons

And now for some history on Van Winkle Distillery and Van Winkle family..

Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery has a four generation history. The Van Winkle family’s involvement in the bourbon industry began in the late 1800s with Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr. He was a traveling salesman for the W.L. Weller and Sons wholesale house in Louisville. Pappy and a friend, Alex Farnsley, eventually bought the wholesale house and also partnered with Mr. A. Ph. Stitzel on the purchase of Mr. Sitzel’s distillery. The three of them merged the two companies and became the Stitzel-Weller Distillery.

In May of 1935 at the age of 61, Pappy opened the newly completed Stitzel-Weller Distillery in South Louisville. Its prominent brands were W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell, and Cabin Still. Pappy had a heavy influence on the operations there until his death at the age of 91. His son, Julian, Jr. took over operations until he was forced by stockholders to sell the distillery in 1972. The rights to all of their brands were sold to Norton Simon, Inc. Later, United Distillers, who eventually ended up with the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, sold off all of the original labels around 1999.

After selling the distillery, Julian Jr. resurrected a pre-prohibition label, the only one to which the Van Winkles kept the rights, called Old Rip Van Winkle. He used whiskey stocks from the old distillery to supply his brand. Julian Jr.’s son, Julian, III took over in 1981 when Julian, Jr. passed away. Julian III has continued with the Van Winkle tradition of producing high-quality wheated bourbon. His son, Preston, joined the company in 2001 and the Van Winkles look to continue that tradition for generations to come.

In 2002 the Van Winkles entered into a joint venture with Buffalo Trace Distillery in Franklin County, Frankfort, Ky. All of the Van Winkle’s whiskey production now takes place at Buffalo Trace Distillery under the same strict guidelines the family has always followed.

BourbonBlog.com's Tom Fischer with Julian Van Winkle (far left) and son Preston Van Winkle (far right)

BourbonBlog.com's Tom Fischer with Julian Van Winkle (far left) and son Preston Van Winkle (far right) during the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival 2011

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