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Pappy Van Winkle's 23 Year Old Family Reserve

Old Man Pappy

0 485

@VictorReview by @Victor

4th Nov 2012


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Many thanks to @numen for the reviewed sample, which is from bottle C 7390.

Nose: strong intensity, sweet wheat/oak combined flavours. Lots of vanilla and perfume of roses. A very lovely nose. Water softens the nose a little, but offers little change otherwise

Taste: lots of old oak with the wheat here. Slightly tired wood, but still enjoyable. Quite sweet with strong vanilla from all of that wood aging. Significant alcohol greeting. Water muffles the flavours and doesn't add anything

Finish: long, sweet, goes a little bitter toward the close. Leaves a good bit to be desired. As with the delivery, water muffles the flavours and adds nothing except to soften the alcohol greeting

Balance: this is enjoyable, but stops short of greatness because of the very old slightly bitter wood. The alcohol hit is also pretty strong relative to the %ABV. I have had samples of Pappy Van Winkle 23 yo from other bottles which have been better than this and at least one that was worse than this. So, for me, this is a bourbon that can range anywhere from 75 to 95 in score. Today's sample would be a good median to my cumulative tastings of Pappy Van Winkle 23. I enjoyed this nose immensely and am always happy to drink Pappy Van Winkle 23, but it is extremely expensive at $ 225 in the USA, and the younger Van Winkle bourbons have better balance

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numen commented

@Victor I'm glad that you enjoyed it (and much more than I did). I re-tasted the other day, and the varnish that I found unpleasant dissipated somewhat, but tulip shaped glasses like the Glencairn did it no favors. You're right about the younger PVWs, and this bottle, to me, is a good teacher on the lesson that older whisk(e)y doesn't mean better.

10 years ago 0

Victor commented

@numen, it is funny how there are certain flavours for many individuals that just kick a whisky out of the desirable category for that individual. If I had perceived a smell/taste of 'varnish' I am sure that my experience of this sample of PVW23 would have gone from "flawed, but capable of being enjoyed" to "just not good enough to like". As it is, this one sample from bottle C 7390 seemed to me much like going out on a first and only blind date, and making the best of it despite some obvious flaws. I have had better PVW23 than this sample, though, so I know that it can be better. For the money, however, I would not be wanting to be taking the risk of getting a bottle with tired and bitter oak.

10 years ago 0

Ol_Jas commented

Yes, varnish! That's all I got out of my limited (one week at a family member's house) experience. I don't get why people are so into this. I'd much rather have an OP12 and $200 (or whatever) left to burn.

9 years ago 0

Victor commented

@OlJas, yes, Pappy 23 is indeed a bit of a crap shoot, in terms of what you will get. At $ 300 a bottle that particular crap shoot is not a game in which I have ever chosen to play. I am always happy to give it a try, though, on someone else's nickel. Sharing samples with other whisky friends is always a good practice.

9 years ago 0

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