Here’s the Most Difficult Whiskey to Find in the U.S., According to Experts

by Madison Miller

When it comes to whiskey, the U.S. certainly does not have a shortage of the popular booze by any stretch.

In fact, production and sales for certain U.S. brands of whiskey and bourbon have actually skyrocketed recently.

Although we have plenty to choose from, whether it’s the bottom-shelf well drink brands or the top-shelf luxury options, there’s one kind of whiskey that’s particularly hard to spot in the U.S.

Pappy Van Winkle Most Difficult to Find

For whiskey lovers, there’s plenty of go-to favorites to always expect at your local liquor store. There are also some that if you spot it in your grocery store you should buy it. Odds are, you won’t spot it again.

Pappy Van Winkle is the notorious unicorn of all bourbon. Most spirit-lovers have heard of the infamous beast. This bourbon is made in Frankfort, Kentucky at the Buffalo Trace Distillery. It’s a collector’s most sought-after dream.

If you’re into Netflix documentaries, you may have also heard about the bourbon. A docuseries called “Heist” explored Pappy Van Winkle. Specifically, the series dove into the insider theft that occurred with the company starting back in 2013. If you needed a clever nickname to remember that, some people refer to it all as “Pappygate.”

Media attention has given Pappy Van Winkle a notorious status. The question is, does it deserve to have that status, to begin with?

According to Best Life, some of the hype may be misleading. “My suggestion for the Pappy is to just get a bottle of Eagle Rare and enjoy the same juice with a little less aging,” Aubrey Slater, the whiskey expert and co-owner of Saint Luna, said.

Other Hard to Find Whiskey Brands

Although Pappy Van Winkle is considered to G.O.A.T. of elusive whiskies, it’s not the only one hard to spot at the local liquor store.

Experts actually blame this on the increase in “bourbon bro” status. Several extreme bourbon drinkers have taken to hoarding some bottles, which makes them harder to find for everyone else.

Some also blame the problem on professional reviewers. They tend to give awards to bottles that are hard to even find to begin with. That means consumers are misled when it comes to good bourbon that is actually able to be found and purchased.

Several news sites also create lists of the best “collector’s” whiskies and bourbons. Food & Wine has a list for people to indulge in. Pappy Van Winkle 25 Decanter and LeNell’s Red Hook Rye are two of the first ones you spot.

Although collector’s items are an amazing addition to any at-home bar, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better than any other spirit on the market.

Other than Pappy Van Winkle, William Heavenhill is another super exclusive bottle of bourbon. The company actually shares historical ties with the Pappy world. I guess exclusivity runs in the family.

Another exclusive brand is William Larue Weller. It is owned by Buffalo Trace Distillery as well.