Tasting Pappy Van Winkle 15 year old family reserve whiskey.

Where to buy Pappy Van Winkle whiskey? Honestly, if I knew where to get one at a reasonable price, I would not tell you. Mostly, you will only find them at auctions, and for serious money. Specially if you live outside the old US of A.

It is still produced and released in batches every year. The demand however is so high most stores that even get bottles hold lotteries just for the right to buy one. Still, a lot of those go to bottle flippers who sell them for at least 10 times the advised retail price on auction, where this one for instance hardly ever goes below 1000 euro’s or USD.

It does not help that they don’t actually sell it a lot in Europe anymore, as European whisky lovers are typically more fanatical and willing to fork over those prices.

Still, a few years ago I did manage to get my hands on a few samples (as well as one whole bottle) and while I don’t think it’s above 1000 USD good, it’s still a pretty awesome whiskey. These tastenotes are based on the old tasting I did on beproefd.be in Dutch with Werner Van den Nouwelant. I did manage to taste another sample a few weeks back to compare, and I remember it being consistent with the old notes. I should however mention I wasn’t able to write down new notes (just compare the old ones on my phone while tasting).

So anyway, here goes…


Lots of tropical fruit. Also, strawberry, vanilla, pepper, doyenne pear, mint, eucalyptus, green herbs, chocolate, berries, apple compote and all sorts of nuts. The full Monty, that’s for sure.


Berries galore. Some marzipan, and there’s the tropical fruit again. Vanilla of course, I would be surprised if I didn’t have a hint of that with Virgin Oak. Salt, honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, and nuts again. Very complex yet somehow it all gets balanced very well.


Strong yet not overly pronounced Peppers. Vanilla and tropical fruit keep those in check. Green herbs, berries, strawberry, cinnamon, nuts, licorice and dark chocolate. Again complex, again well balanced. Medium long and very pleasant.

So absolutely, this is a stunning whiskey. Not worth the money, but I guess everything is worth whatever people are willing to pay for it. Just sad that whisky gets something investors like too much. I chose the title of this website for a reason!

I’m lucky enough to know a lot of people who think like me, so I can swap samples and taste great whisky. And of course, there’s all the festivals and whisky clubs. That reminds me: time to get ready to join an evening with an awesome whisky club: The Malt Mates from Vosselaar, Belgium.

This whisky reminds me of:

John Wayne. The Duke himself. True cowboy, yet complex as hell.

The data:

The whiskey: Pappy Van Winkle 15-year-old family reserve

Released by: Official bottling

Year on bottle: 2016

Alcohol percentage: 53,5 %

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