In 1893, Julian Pappy Van Winkle Sr. began working as a traveling salesman for the W.L. Weller & Sons Company in Louisville, Kentucky. Weller & Sons was a liquor wholesaler and sold bourbon behind various labels, including Old Fitzgerald and Rebel Yell. After the turn of the century, Van Winkle purchased Weller & Sons Co., together with the Stitzel Distillery (the distillery produced most of the bourbons sold by the wholesaler), and merged the two companies.
While Prohibition forced most distilleries to close their doors soon thereafter, Van Winkle was granted a license to continue operating his distillery and producing whiskey for medicinal purposes. By the time of his death in 1966 (at the age of 91), Van Winkle was the oldest active distiller in the country.
Today, Pappy Van Winkle's Bourbon pays homage to one of the whiskey industry's founding fathers. Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 23 Year Old Bourbon is made from a wheated bourbon recipe, meaning that the secondary ingredient used in the bourbon is wheat instead of rye. After the bourbon has been distilled in the heart of Kentucky, it is matured for a minimum of 23 years, making it one of the oldest bourbons available. Then, each limited-release bottle is brought to proof and bottled.
Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 23 Year Old BourbonAged for 23 years earned five stars from F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal, a score of 95 points from Whisky Advocate, and a score of 95 points from the Ultimate Spirits Challenge
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