So, those of you attuned to the world of bourbon may have already heard this story. For those of you who are not, I’ll provide a little background.
In the bourbon industry, there are several spirits from which to choose. Many are distilled in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We’re pretty famous for it, in fact. One bourbon, in particular, though, is considered the Holy Grail among bourbons: Old Rip Van Winkle. (We call it Pappy around here.)
Because of this distinction, Pappy is very hard to come by. And it's looking to be even more elusive because a large batch has disappeared. It recently was discovered that 200 bottles of Pappy went missing from Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Ky. That’s about $26,000 worth of bourbon. Two hundred bottles may not sound like much, but considering how small a batch of Pappy is made each year - only about 6,000 to 7,000 9-liter cases are distributed annually- that's a big portion. In comparison, Jim Beam sells about 7 million cases a year.
The thought is that it’s an inside job and that the bottles were smuggled out over a period of time, because Pappy 23-year is said to be under lock-and-key in a special area of the warehouse.
Now, the cynic in me first thought it was part of a publicity stunt because the revelation of the theft, and media coverage of it, happened about the same time a new merchandise venture, Pappy & Co., was launched by Van Winkle descendants Louise Van Winkle Breen (below) and her siblings. Her father, Julian, is the head of the family business.
In addition to the new line of merchandise, the news of the heist also happened right before the launch party for Pappy & Co. at Foxhollow Farm outside of Louisville. But, apparently that's not the case and I need to keep my cynicism in check. The police are investigating and are said to have a "person of interest" in their sights. Stay tuned.
A local eatery is capitalizing on the media hoopla by hosting a five-course, "Stop the Panic" meal featuring flights of Pappy. The meal ends with a glass of 23-year Pappy, perhaps the best of the best. And, yes, I have had a glass of Pappy, the 20-year variety. Yes, it's a mighty-fine bourbon. Would I pay for a $50 glass of 23-year Pappy at the Brown Hotel in Louisville? Uh, no. But, there are plenty who would.
Have you ever tried Pappy Van Winkle? If so, what do you think? Worth the price?
Have a terrific Tuesday, friends!
Images from Food Republic and Style Blueprint Louisville