Julien Van Winkle III, by all accounts the godfather of as we speak’s bourbon hysteria, put the household title on extra than simply bourbon. Whereas the annual 15-, 20-, and 23-year-old bourbon releases are a few of his most sought-after innovations, a barely lesser identified, however no much less coveted, rye whiskey sits among the many “Pappy” lineup. The Van Winkle Household Reserve Rye 13 Years Outdated first appeared in 1997, again when Julien was bottling sourced whiskey from his household’s former distillery, Stitzel-Weller, and different undisclosed, now shuttered distilleries. In response to well-reasoned rumor on-line, the Van Winkle Household Reserve Rye bottled between 1997 and 2016 was some mixture of rye produced by Cream of Kentucky and/or Medley Distillery. Some Buffalo Hint-produced rye might have discovered its approach into that mix as early as 2012, after Julien signed on with the distillery to supply the Pappy line going ahead. It’s additionally moderately assumed that the pre-2016 releases contained whiskey as previous as 19 years, regardless of the age assertion on the label, all of which was tanked within the early 2000s to arrest the results of barrel getting older. If you’re fortunate sufficient to be sitting on one in all these pre-Buffalo Hint bottlings, you’ll be able to discern the various potentialities on-line your self utilizing the batch code on the label. A good friend shared his bottle with me just lately, and I couldn’t assist however commit my affection for this one to phrases.
The aroma is exotically spiced with dried lavender and sandalwood, in contrast to any typical “rye spice” on the market. It’s wealthy and soulful, however nonetheless delicate. Clove syrup and cherry candies arrive because it opens within the glass, with the barrel providing a extra rustic counterpoint of damp oak and toasty gingerbread. Light, darkish spices seem first on the palate – cinnamon stick and grated nutmeg and dried clove – adopted by a little bit of pink peppercorn warmth, fantastically gentle however nonetheless intensely warming. Sweeter, fruitier notes arrive mid-palate with cocktail cherries and sweet apple that rapidly change into extra tropical and unique – peach and pineapple and even some melon. The end is prolonged and mildly spiced, lingering with a mélange of fruit, seasoned oak, and a dusting of cocoa powder. Elegant. I haven’t tasted the more moderen, all-Hint model of this rye, however given the age and precise rarity of the whiskey on this mix, I can say with close to certainty that they simply don’t make them like this anymore. And doubtless by no means will once more.
95.6 proof. (Reviewed: Bottle #D1304, 2013 bottling.)