Click to listen to full details in our podcast interview above as Melton explains that Julian Van Winkle, President of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, has today expressed concerns that the bottles may be tampered.
Sheriff Melton says Julian Van Winkle (pictured below) originally supported the idea of an auction. According to Melton, Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate also expressed his support for the auction.
Melton says that Julian Van Winkle is now concerned that the contents of the sealed bottles could have been tampered with while in the hands of thieves.
Melton explains that one concern is a syringe or other mechanism could have been used infect the bottle. While Melton wanted to include a certificate of authenticity and have the auctioned bottles verified as legitimate from strip stamps and / or other methods, he says Julian’s main concern is liability.
As BourbonBlog.com was first to report on an auction, Melton says that our story this past Saturday prompted some inquiries.
“The story we did (on BourbonBlog.com) was picked up evidently by AP and we started getting calls yesterday about the bourbon and what our plans were and what we wanted to do,” Melton says. “That has caused quite a stir. At the end of the day, we have abide by what the judge tells us to do.
Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate is the judge who will make the final decision on what will happen to all the stolen bourbon once the case adjudicated. Melton says he believes Wingate will likely follow wishes of Julian Van Winkle.
BourbonBlog.com has reached out to Julian Van Winkle for further comment with no response thus far.
“I understand that and totally respect Julian Van Winkle’s decision,” Melton tells us.
BourbonBlog.com wants to know if YOU think the stolen Pappy Bourbon should be auctioned or destroyed? Vote in the poll underneath the story below.
“We want to see positive come from this; we don’t want anything negative.” Melton says that if by some off chance a thief had done something to a bottle and someone bought it auction, that is not what the Sheriff’s office would want to see happen.
Sheriff melton predicts there will be some activity on the case in the next 30 to 60 days.
Sheriff Melton tells usthat he always wanted to see the stolen Bourbon auctioned for charity but always maintained that the Judge would make the final decision.
In case you’re catching up on our stolen Bourbon updates, we’re including the complete timeline below and subscribe to our Bourbon newsletter for continued updates on the story.
The charities which still may benefit from a possible auction of the stolen barrels are Kentucky Sheriff’s Association Boys and Girls Ranch and United States Marine Corps EOD (for Wounded Warriors and Families of those who have lost service members).
If the auction is held, we have offered to donate a hosted Bourbon tasting in order to help raise funds. Now that the stolen Pappy may not be auctioned, if you have any suggestions or ways to the auction we invite you to contact BourbonBlog or the Franklin County Sherif’s Office.
Additionally, as this is an ongoing investigation, anyone with additional information on bourbon thefts is encouraged to contact Franklin County Sherif’s Office.
Vote in the poll and tell us what you think should happen
Photo credits: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post bottles photo.
Timeline in Great Bourbon Syndicate Case from 2013 to Present
10-16-2013 – Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon first reported stolen, first interview with Sheriff Melton – BourbonBlog.com is first to ask about a possible reward, which is offered later.
10-18-2013 Spotting the Stolen Pappy – BourbonBlog.com is first to raise the question of recorded strip stamp numbers on the bottles of stolen Pappy to aid detectives and consumers in identifying the stolen bottles from any other bottle of Pappy. This is a question that is yet unanswered to this day.
10-23-2013 Surveillance Footage released – public asked for help in locating “person of interest.”
10-24-2013 Interview with Liquor Store Where Pappy Suspect Was Caught on Camera – BourbonBlog.com is first to identify Package & More Liquor Store as the location where the “person of interest” was captured on surveillance.
10-28-2013 BourbonBlog interviews Attorney of Chris Pickett – First interview of its kind with attorney for Chris Pickett.
12-02-2013 $10,000 Reward Offered in Pappy Theft Case
04-03-2014 Five Whiskey Worth Stealing BourbonBlog.com organizes historic tasting of other rare bourbons and whiskeys.
8-13-2015 More Stolen Bourbon Recovered