It's the oldest and most expensive Van Winkle bourbon yet

Van Winkle family releasing ultra rare bourbon

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Just when you thought the craze over the hard to find Van Winkle family bourbon's had hit its peak, now comes the release of the oldest bourbon produced by the family, at its original Shively distillery.

The 25-year-old Old Rip Van Winkle sells at a whopper of a price. The cost: $1,800 per bottle. The story behind it is unique.

In the fall of 1989, the bourbon was put into 11 oak barrels at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Shively. 

In fact, the wood on the special box for the 25-year-old Rip is made from those very barrels. An estimated 710 bottles came from those 11 barrels. We are showing you bottle number 149 in the video of this story.

Why is Stitzel-Weller such a big deal?

On Derby Day 1935, Pappy Van Winkle and his partners (including Mr. Stitzel) opened the distillery.

It would become one of the most famous in America. Pappy’s grandson, Julian Van Winkle of Louisville, who created the Pappy brand, told WHAS11 News that his grandfather would have preferred to open his new business on Derby Day when all of Louisville as at the racetrack. He says he’s never seen any photos of Pappy at the racetrack.

The Van Winkle’s left Stitzel-Weller in the late 1980’s and it sat vacant for many years.

So it means the 25-year-old bourbon is the closest to the original Pappy Van Winkle recipe created by his grandson, Julian Van Winkle of Louisville.

By the way, Stitzel-Weller is now open to the public and you can see Pappy’s original office, check out this website:

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