First, let's talk about Pappy Van Winkle just a little. I did a review of the 15 year last April and mentioned in the post that it was difficult to find but now it's near downright impossible. The 20 and 23 year bottling contain Stitzel Weller bourbon but the 15 year may be questionable. Julian Van Winkle posted on a bourbon site that the bottles with Pappy's picture on it are SW bourbon. But then there are conflicting statements that it's a blend of SW and either Bernheim or Buffalo Trace wheat bourbon. In fact, it's been reported that Julian used Buffalo Trace juice around 2007 because of a shortage of SW 15 year. To me it doesn't make a difference because it's tasty bourbon and that's what's important.
So what happened to PVW15? Time, that's what happened. Stitzel Weller stopped production in the summer of 1992. So, do the math and that places the last 15 year at 2007. Julian states that he did a mass bottling of PVW 15 (that contained 15 and 16 year old bourbon) and has slow rolled the release which means he's at the end of that bourbon run. Enter Buffalo Trace wheat bourbon?
Jason over at Sourmashmanifesto reports that Julian has advised the next release of Pappy 15 will be this spring. There are also unconfirmed reports that this will be the last drop and the next release in the fall of this year will be Old Rip Van Winkle (ORVW) 15 year and will more than likely not contain SW bourbon. For those in the know, ORVW 15 is the predecessor to Pappy Van Winkle 15 and also contained SW bourbon. Confused yet? So it appears Buffalo Trace will re-release the ORVW 15 year, but again let me caveat that this is unconfirmed.
Finally, with the absence of PVW15, I went on the hunt for PVW20 and was able to secure 4 bottles. This too is starting to disappear. A store manager at a local liquor store made the comment to a friend of mine that he's had PVW20 sitting on the shelves for months on end and then all of a sudden, it's flying off the shelves and is now almost gone in my state. If you're a lover of PVW15, keep your eyes peeled for spring as that may very well be the last allotment of this label.