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Pappy Van Winkle's 20 Year Old Family Reserve

A bit tired - a disappointment

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@WhiskyNotesReview by @WhiskyNotes

19th Oct 2009


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Nose: expressive. Immediately mentholated. Slightly bubblegummy / cotton candy, some darker sugar, very big notes of varnish. Tobacco and old leather. Vanilla and other more powerful spices (white pepper). Much more oak than commonly found in bourbon, but still within the limits. Slightly dusty. Mouth: hmm interestingly weird. Not very complex, pretty much on burnt caramel and liquid wood extract (does that exist?). A bit too much oak I’m afraid. Pine trees with pepper and big hints of herbal cough syrup. Unique but rather flat, lacking richness that I do find in other bourbons. Finish: not very long, woody and resinous.

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Victor commented

I had this bourbon only once, and it did not draw me strongly. The Pappy Van Winkle 15 yr old, on the other hand, is absolutely exquisite, provided that you understand what you are getting, a wheated bourbon with no rye which provides high and middle notes, with no real base notes. It does not really matter, though, in this case, for what you have is what I call "the champagne of bourbons". The 20 yr old by contrast is to the best of my memory more weighted down by the oak aging. A batch of this comes out each year in the USA in October, and within a few days to a few weeks it is bought out and then unavailable until the next year. My Austrian brother-in-law who hates wheat in his beers and hates all other wheated bourbons loved the Pappy 15 yr.

11 years ago 0

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