Old Rip VanWinkle

                                                                    Sorry, Talking Bourbon has been a little lax of late. It has been a while since the last post. Holidays, family, even a new job has taken priority. But Talking Bourbon is back and hopefully absence has made your heart grow fonder.

Talking Bourbon has to thank today’s guest taster, Indianapolis lawyer Aaron Pitt. TB thanks him because he supplied the bottle we are drinking. And what a bottle it is, the legendary Old Rip VanWinkle. TB has not seen a bottle of Old Rip for sale at a local liquor store in a long long time.

VanWinkle is the younger brother of the even more legendary Pappy VanWinkle. Rip has been aged 10 years as opposed to the 15, 20 or 23 year old Pappy. Old Rip is 107 proof and comes in a very cool looking corked bottle. It sells for $89 and as stated before, almost impossible to find. Rip, like Pappy is a wheated Bourbon, meaning it uses wheat as the secondary ingredient behind corn.


Aaron:  I get a strong scent of grain along with some caramel. Behind that some leather, tobacco and a slight smell of banana.  Also, a little hot on the nose at first but sweetened up with a little ice.

TB:    Caramel, bread and oak lead the way, followed by some type of red fruit, a nuttiness, and a slight musty scent. TB also gets that very  slight hint of banana as well as the hotness.


Aaron:     Very sweet on the tip of my tongue. Nice taste of butterscotch and wood. Still get that hint of banana along with just a trace of cinnamon.

TB:     Nothing really jumps out, get some leather, grain, oak and a sweetness that can’t quite define. Also get the slight mustiness that was on the nose as well as a hint of the cinnamon that Aaron got.


Aaron:    Medium with a lot of heat neat, more sweetness if iced down a little.

TB:    Medium-long to long with plenty of sweetness and more oak.


Aaron:    Somewhat hot neat  but really enjoyed after a little ice had melted. Not sure it is worth the price but would still buy again just because it is so hard to find.

TB:     Nice drink, little steep on the price but very agreeable to the tongue and nose.

Nose        4 out of 5

Taste       7 out of 10

Finish       4 out of 5

Total score          15 out of 20 barrels

Well as in other examples, the score really did not reflect the enjoyment of sipping on this particular Bourbon. While no one trait stands out head and shoulders above another, it is still a damn good drink best served with a cube or 2.  While price prohibitive, the strong proof makes for a good cocktail.

With the cool bottle and  the mystique surrounding it, Old Rip VanWinkle makes for a very impressive presentation. For that matter alone it would be worth the price of admission. But like stated before, it is also a damn fine Bourbon.