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Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Bottle Prices & Guide (2024)

Pappy Van Winkle buying guide

Last Updated on March 27, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Bottle Prices & Guide

The Pappy bourbons are famous premium-quality drinks with limited annual production. Their rarity leads to skyrocketed Pappy Van Winkle price points at some retailers, especially from the black market.

But what makes it so famous?

Here’s our quick review of the most sought-after Pappy and what makes it an exceptional brand.

All About Pappy Van Winkle

Pappy Van Winkle

The Van Winkle bourbon whiskey products used more than 51% corn and rested the blend in new American charred oak casks for at least ten years.

However, this brand rose above other whiskey products in popularity. 

Aside from endorsements of celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain, the Beverage Testing Institute also gave the product a 99/100 score.

“Pappy Van Winkle: A taste of history, a sip of legacy.” -Liquor Laboratory

Most Pappy whiskey expressions also received much recognition from the San Francisco World Spirits and International Wine & Spirits competitions.

Key Information

Key Information


Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle Sr. started as a traveling salesman for W.L. Weller & Sons before eventually buying it and creating the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in 1935 [1].

After the death of Van Winkle Sr, his son, Julian Van Winkle Jr, took over when he sold the Stitzel Weller Distillery in 1972.

The Van Winkle Family, headed by Julian Jr, tried to keep the name by reviving the wheated bourbon recipe and establishing the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery.

Winkle III took over the business in 1981 and continuously delivered whiskey stocks in partnership with Buffalo Trace Distillery.

The “Always fine bourbon” has lived through four generations, continuously in high demand, and has received multiple awards for generations.

How It’s Made

Production Process

Buffalo Trace Distillery in Louisville has been in charge of distilling this fine bourbon whiskey since 2002. Until today, they use the original wheated bourbon recipe by Van Winkle Sr.

The aging period of Pappy’s expressions varies from ten to twenty-three years using new American charred oak barrels.

This aging period is considerably longer than most brands, leading to a massive portion of the spirit evaporating, commonly called Angel’s share.

More details on who makes Pappy Van Winkle bourbon here.

Key Ingredients & ABV

Buffalo Trace uses their wheated bourbon mash bill in making the Pappy products, replacing the usual rye mash with a wheated bourbon recipe.

Many alcohol enthusiasts believe using wheat instead of rye results in smoother and sweeter bourbons. The other ingredients are corn and malted barley.

The distillers used Kentucky limestone water before bottling the liquor at varying proofs from 90.4 to 107.


Julian Van Winkle III

The brand started with Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle, a WL Weller and Sons salesman.

Then, he bought the company he used to work for and merged it to create the Stitzel-Weller Distillery.

In 2001, Preston, Julian’s fourth-generation descendant, joined the business.

He continued the business with his father by partnering with Buffalo Trace Distillery, which Sazerac Company owns.

Due to high demand and limited stock that the suppliers produce, the price can be unbelievably higher, especially in the secondary market.

After four generations, the bottled whiskey stocks from the brand have continuously prospered and received multiple awards.

Tasting Notes of the Fine Bourbon


As I savored this fine bourbon, my palate was treated to an extraordinary journey. The flavors danced gracefully on my tongue, offering a harmonious blend of caramel, wheat, vanilla, and butterscotch.

Subtle hints of toasted oak, dark chocolate, and dried fruits complemented these rich, sweet notes. The palate was like velvet, delivering a luxurious and indulgent experience that I won’t soon forget.

This bourbon has a fruity sweetness from the wheat used instead of rye. You can also taste nuts, dark fruits, and vanilla toffee flavors.


Upon bringing the glass to my nose, a symphony of enticing aromas greeted me. Sweet caramel and vanilla wafted delicately, followed by the comforting scent of toasted oak.

Honey, wheat, and cinnamon notes added depth and complexity, while hints of citrus and dried fruits teased my senses.

The nose promised an enriching tasting experience, and I was not disappointed. The bourbon also exudes an aroma of raisins, oak, vanilla, and cinnamon notes.

Color, Viscosity & Finish

The deep, amber color of fine bourbon hinted at their well-aged character.

As I swirled the liquid in the glass, I couldn’t help but admire its remarkable viscosity, with thick, slow-moving legs that clung to the sides.

The finish was a revelation, long and sumptuous, leaving a warm, comforting sensation.

Notes of oak, spice, and sweetness lingered on my palate, making it an unforgettable and satisfying bourbon experience.

Pappy Van Winkle Variations

Price & Value

Per their website, the bottles of Pappy Van Winkle usually range from $70 to $300, their suggested retail price.

However, most retailers and distributors sell Van Winkle for as much as ten times the suggested price. But why is Pappy Van Winkle very expensive?

The demand for this bourbon bottle increased due to the brand’s limited production of around 84,000 bottles yearly [2].

Common Pappy Van Winkle Prices

Common Pappy Van Winkle Prices


SizeAlcohol By Volume

Average Price

Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 Yr 750ml 53.5% Around $2502.99 

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20 Yr 750ml 45.2% Around $4251.99 

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23 Yr 750ml 47.8% Around $8000

Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 yr750ml 47.8% Around $2002.99

Van Winkle Special Reserve 12yr750ml 45.2% Around $1127.99 

Old Rip Van Winkle Brand 10 Yr 750ml 53.5% Around $1499.99 

Old Rip Van Winkle Pappy’s Family Reserve 25 Year 750 ml 50% Around $54662 

*Average prices are based on Drizly online. Prices may vary in local liquor shops.

Compared to Other Whiskeys

Compared to Other Whiskeys

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey produces widely available and cheaper products than the Pappy brand.

Its suggested retail price is around $25 for a bottle containing 50.5% ABV.

This product has a smooth and sweet taste with six to eight years of maturation, slightly shorter than the ten years of Pappy products.

Elijah Craig

Elijah Craig

This brand produces widely distributed spirits at a lower price of around $28 to $30.

The usual age of the blend is around eight to twelve years, similar to some Pappy products.

It contains 47% ABV for small-batch expression but also offers barrel-proof drinks with 120 to 140 proof.

George Dickel

George Dickel is one of the few companies that use the “whisky” spelling despite being an American brand.

For around $30, it also provides a cheaper whiskey bottle than the fine bourbon bottle.

The blends used for production range from five to eight years old, making it another younger comparison than Pappy products.

But what is a poor man’s Pappy Van Winkle?

Popular Pappy Van Winkle Cocktails

Popular Pappy Van Winkle Cocktails

Julian Van Winkle Old Fashioned 

Julian Van Winkle Old Fashioned 

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 2.5 oz bourbon whiskey

  • Seven dashes of Angostura bitters

  • Seven dashes of orange bitters

  • One raw sugar cube

  • Orange slice

  • Ice cubes


Place the sugar cubes on a cocktail napkin and soak them with Angostura and orange bitters.

Discard the napkin after and transfer the soaked cubes into an old-fashioned glass.

Avoiding the bitter rind, muddle the orange slice and ice cubes until the sugar is almost completely dissolved.

Then, add an ounce of bourbon and a few ice cubes. Stir until well chilled before adding more bourbon. Serve. 

Serving: 1

Van Winkle Old Fashioned

Van Winkle Old Fashioned

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 3 minutes


  • 2 oz bourbon whiskey

  • 1/4 oz simple syrup

  • Two dashes of Angostura bitters

  • Orange wheel

“We make fine bourbon at a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but always fine bourbon.” -Van Winkle Sr, Founder


Prepare a rock glass and add the simple syrup and Angostura bitters. Fill the glass with ice, then stir.

Mix the bourbon [3] into the glass for 30 seconds until chilled. Garnish with an orange wheel. Serve and enjoy.

Serving: 1

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is Pappy so expensive?

Pappy Van Winkle’s steep price tag can be attributed to a combination of factors. Firstly, scarcity plays a significant role. The Van Winkle family produces limited quantities of their bourbon annually due to the aging process, resulting in a high demand and low supply scenario.

Additionally, its reputation as one of the finest bourbons in the world contributes to its exclusivity and consequently, its price.

Moreover, its aging process is extensive, with some bottles aged for up to 23 years, which incurs significant storage and production costs. The brand’s long-standing history and tradition also add to its perceived value, as it has become synonymous with luxury and quality in the bourbon market.

Lastly, the secondary market plays a role, where bottles of Pappy are often resold at inflated prices due to its status symbol and collector’s item appeal.

Why is Pappy Van Winkle so famous?

Pappy Van Winkle has attained legendary status within the bourbon community for several reasons. Firstly, its exceptional quality and flavor profile set it apart from other bourbons, garnering praise from enthusiasts and experts alike. The Van Winkle family’s dedication to craftsmanship and adherence to traditional production methods contribute to the consistent excellence of their product.

Additionally, its scarcity fuels its mystique, as obtaining a bottle of Pappy becomes a coveted achievement for bourbon aficionados. Furthermore, its association with bourbon lore and the Van Winkle family’s heritage in distilling adds to its allure, making it a symbol of prestige and sophistication in the spirits world.

The brand’s cult following and the media attention it receives further elevate its fame, solidifying its place as a symbol of excellence in the bourbon industry.

What’s the big deal with Pappy Van Winkle?

The allure of Pappy Van Winkle lies in its exceptional quality, scarcity, and cultural significance within the bourbon community. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail and aged to perfection,

Pappy’s flavor profile is unrivaled, offering a sensory experience that captivates connoisseurs and novices alike. Its limited availability adds to its mystique, turning each bottle into a coveted treasure sought after by collectors and enthusiasts worldwide. Beyond its taste and rarity,

Pappy embodies tradition and heritage, with each sip telling a story of craftsmanship passed down through generations of the Van Winkle family. Its status as a symbol of luxury and prestige elevates it from a mere spirit to a cultural icon, revered by those who appreciate the finer things in life.

In essence, the big deal with Pappy Van Winkle lies in its ability to transcend being just a bourbon and become a cherished emblem of excellence, tradition, and sophistication.

How much is a shot of Pappy Van Winkle?

The cost of a shot of Pappy Van Winkle can vary significantly depending on several factors such as location, establishment, and the specific expression of Pappy being served.

In upscale bars or restaurants, where Pappy is offered as a premium spirit, a single shot can range anywhere from $30 to $100 or even higher in some cases.

However, prices may differ in regions where Pappy is more readily available or where demand is lower. It’s essential to check with the establishment beforehand to get an accurate idea of the cost.

Do people sell fake Pappy Van Winkle?

Unfortunately, the high demand and limited supply of Pappy Van Winkle have led to instances of counterfeit bottles circulating in the market. These counterfeit bottles are typically produced by individuals or groups seeking to profit from the brand’s popularity by creating imitations that mimic the appearance of genuine Pappy.

These fake bottles can be challenging to detect, as they often come with convincing packaging and labeling. To mitigate the risk of purchasing counterfeit Pappy, it’s advisable to buy from reputable retailers or directly from the distillery.

Additionally, verifying the authenticity of the bottle through trusted sources or experts in the bourbon community can help ensure that you’re getting the real deal.

Is Pappy Van Winkle rare?

Yes, Pappy Van Winkle is considered one of the rarest and most sought-after bourbons in the world. Produced in limited quantities by the Van Winkle family, each expression of Pappy undergoes an extensive aging process, with some bottles aged for up to 23 years or more.

This scarcity is further compounded by the high demand for Pappy, driven by its exceptional quality, reputation, and cultural significance within the bourbon community.

As a result, obtaining a bottle of Pappy can be incredibly challenging, with enthusiasts often facing long waiting lists or resorting to secondary markets where prices can be exorbitant.

The rarity of Pappy Van Winkle only adds to its allure, turning each bottle into a prized possession cherished by collectors and bourbon aficionados alike.

What does Pappy taste like?

Pappy Van Winkle is a bourbon revered for its unparalleled taste, offering a sensory journey that captivates the palate with its complexity and depth of flavor. Renowned for its smoothness and richness, Pappy Van Winkle tantalizes the taste buds with a harmonious blend of sweet, savory, and spicy notes that dance on the tongue with each sip.

At the forefront of its flavor profile are luscious tones of caramel, imparting a velvety sweetness that envelops the palate in warmth and indulgence. Complementing the caramel are delicate nuances of vanilla, infusing the bourbon with a creamy smoothness that enhances its overall texture and mouthfeel.

Butterscotch undertones add a layer of richness and depth, lending a decadent sweetness that delights the senses with every sip. These indulgent flavors are further accentuated by subtle hints of oak, imparting a robust earthiness that provides a solid foundation for the bourbon’s complex character.

The aging process imbues Pappy Van Winkle with a profound depth of flavor, allowing it to develop intricate layers of complexity that evolve with each passing year.

As the bourbon matures, it acquires subtle nuances of dried fruits, such as figs and raisins, adding a delightful complexity to its flavor profile.

Beyond its primary flavors, Pappy Van Winkle offers a symphony of spices that dance on the palate, tantalizing taste buds with a delicate balance of warmth and zest. Notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves provide a gentle spice that lingers on the finish, leaving a satisfying warmth that beckons for another sip.

The bourbon’s impeccable balance and nuanced flavors make it a true masterpiece of the distiller’s art, deserving of its status as one of the finest bourbons in the world.

Who owns Pappy Van Winkle?

Pappy Van Winkle is owned and produced by the Van Winkle family, who have been in the bourbon business for several generations. The family’s involvement in the distillation of spirits dates back to the 19th century when Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle Sr. founded the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.

Today, the Van Winkle family continues the legacy of producing exceptional bourbon under the Pappy Van Winkle brand.

Julian Van Winkle III, Pappy’s grandson, is currently at the helm of the family business, overseeing the production and distribution of Pappy Van Winkle bourbons.

Is Pappy Van Winkle still made?

Yes, Pappy Van Winkle is still being produced by the Van Winkle family, maintaining its reputation as one of the most coveted and sought-after bourbons in the world. The family remains committed to upholding the traditions and craftsmanship that have made Pappy Van Winkle synonymous with excellence in the bourbon industry.

However, due to the extensive aging process required to produce Pappy, as well as the limited availability of aged barrels, production quantities remain limited.

As a result, acquiring a bottle of Pappy can be challenging, with high demand often outpacing supply, leading to long waiting lists and inflated prices in the secondary market.

Nevertheless, the Van Winkle family continues to produce Pappy Van Winkle bourbons, ensuring that each bottle maintains the exceptional quality and distinctive character that has made it a beloved treasure among bourbon enthusiasts.

In A Nutshell

Pappy bourbons are among the most sought-after Kentucky bourbon brands to include on your liquor shelves.

Aside from its premium-quality taste and texture, it also has a limited release, increasing demand even for a single bottle of Pappy. 

However, Four Roses Single Barrel and Maker’s Mark are good alternatives while waiting for the Pappy brand’s next batch of releases.






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