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What Is Poor Man’s Pappy? Solved (2024)

What Is Poor Man's Pappy

The demand for Pappy Van Winkle is so high that it drives the secondary market to sell Pappy 20 and 23 almost ten times their retail value.

Who could resist such a smooth taste, memorable nose, and long-lasting finish?  

But what is Poor Man’s Pappy, and can it emulate one of the most lauded bourbons in the world? 

What Is Poor Man’s Pappy?

poorman's bottle on a top of table

Poor Man’s Pappy is a Pappy Van Winkle alternative, and it is not a secret way to get the bottle but a recipe to mimic one of the most lauded spirits in the world [1].

Since the retail price on the secondary market for Pappy Van Winkle bottles skyrocketed, indulging in a Pappy alternative is not bad. 

If you want to drink Pappy without the month-long waiting list or to spend $1000 for a bottle, Poor Man’s Pappy can be a solution.

One popular alternative for Pappy Van Winkle is a combination of Old Weller Antique and WL Weller 12. 

History & Origin 

Poor Man’s Pappy is a recipe made in an attempt to make an alternative to Pappy Van Winkle bottles in 2013. 

In 1972, Old Rip Van Winkle Brand set out on its own after selling Stitzel-Weller Distillery. When Buffalo Trace made a joint venture with Pappy Van Winkle in 2002, Buffalo Trace had already purchased WL Weller in 1999.

Pappy Van began using Buffalo Trace’s wheated mash bill, similar to the mash bill used for WL Weller bourbons.

While Poor Man’s Pappy cannot replicate Pappy exactly, it comes close. 

Tasting Notes

hand holding glass of whisky


Tannic oak, warm spices, vanilla, caramel, cherries


Sweet butterscotch, char, oak, cherry, wood, dark coffee, caramel, and maple syrup


Beautiful golden to dark amber


Lingering butterscotch, caramel, sweet vanilla, baking spices

Alcohol Content 

The Poor Man’s Pappy combines two bourbons from Weller, containing 100.2 Proof (50.1%).

Based on the recipe, it is a combination of 60% WL Weller Antique which features 107 Proof (53.5% ABV), and 40% WL Weller 12 Year, which boasts 90 Proof (45% ABV). 

Let’s do the math here: 

WL Weller Antique =107 Proof (60%) = 64.2 Proof

WL Weller 12 Year = 90 Proof (40%) = 36 Proof

Poor Man’s Pappy Alcohol Content = 60% WL Weller Antique Proof + 40% WL Weller 12 Year

Poor Man’s Pappy Alcohol Content = 100.2 Proof (50.1 %)

Therefore, Poor Man’s Pappy contains 100.2 Proof, which is slightly near the proof of Old Rip Van Winkle and Pappy Van Winkle 15-Year. 

How Much Does Poor Man’s Pappy Cost?

Weller bottles and oak barrel dispenser

Poor Man’s Pappy costs around $379.98 in Drizly online. A WL Weller Antique costs roughly $129.99, while a bottle of WL Weller 12 Year is around $249.99 in Drizly online.

It is cheaper than buying Pappy Van 15 Year, which now costs around $1699.99 in Drizly. But why is Pappy Van Winkle very expensive?

Can Poor Man’s Pappy Get You Drunk? 

Yes, Poor Man’s Pappy can get you drunk. Based on our calculation, the recipe contains 50.1% ABV, which can make you drunk.

You can get drunk at 50.1% alcohol content; however, it depends on your consumption and other factors such as gender, body mass, and alcohol tolerance. 

Can You Use Any Pappy Bourbon To Make It? 

No, you cannot use any Pappy bourbon to make the Poor Man’s Pappy. To make Poor Man’s Pappy, you will need the WL Weller Bourbons. 

Pappy bourbon is a hard-to-find bourbon and can be expensive.

How To Make Poor Man’s Pappy

weller bottles

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes to 2 weeks


  • 2 parts WL Weller 12 YO
  • 3 parts WL Antique


For immediate consumption, pour two parts of Weller 12 Year and three parts of WL Weller Antique into a glass and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. 

If you are patient enough, let the mixture sit in an empty glass container for at least two weeks to taste better. 


FAQs Related to What Is Poor Man’s Pappy?

How much Poor Man’s Pappy will get you drunk?

You will need at least three to four shots of Poor Man’s Pappy to get you drunk.
Poor Man’s Pappy contains 50.1% ABV, enough to get you drunk, especially if you consume the shots within an hour. 

Is Poor Man’s Pappy easy to make?

Yes, the Poor Man’s Pappy is easy to make. You must measure the two bourbons based on the exact ratio needed and combine them.
You can consume it immediately or wait for a few weeks for a better taste. 

Can beginners drink Poor Man’s Pappy?

Yes, beginners can drink Poor Man’s Pappy. It is sweet, smooth, easy, and enjoyable to drink.
However, don’t be fooled by its taste because it is packed with a kick, as it contains 50.1% ABV. 

How do you make Poor Man’s Pappy? 

To make Poor Man’s Pappy, mix together two parts W.L. Weller 12 Year Old bourbon with one part Old Weller Antique 107 bourbon. Based on your personal preferences, adjust the ratio.

Why is it called Poor Man’s Pappy?

It’s called Poor Man’s Pappy because it offers a more affordable alternative to Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, allowing enthusiasts to enjoy a similar flavor experience without the hefty price tag.

What are the flavor characteristics of Poor Man’s Pappy?

Poor Man’s Pappy typically exhibits similar flavor notes to Pappy Van Winkle, including rich caramel, vanilla, oak, and a hint of spice, thanks to the combination of W.L. Weller and Old Weller Antique bourbons.

Is Poor Man’s Pappy as good as the real Pappy Van Winkle? 

While Poor Man’s Pappy may not perfectly replicate the taste of Pappy Van Winkle, many bourbon enthusiasts find it to be a satisfying alternative that captures some of the essence of the coveted bourbon at a fraction of the cost.

Final Thoughts of What Is Poor Man’s Pappy?

If we’re comparing the real deal between Poor Man’s Pappy and Pappy Van Winkle bourbons, the made-up recipe nailed the sweetness.

However, it lacks the rich texture and sharper, darker Pappy.

On the other hand, it is not a bad alternative because it is cheaper and more convenient to get.

With the high demand and price, sitting and swirling this delicious Poor Man’s alternative is way better until the hype dies. 


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