Buffalo Trace Releases 2022 Van Winkle Bourbon Bottles: ‘Cannot Legally Force’ Retailers to Use MSRP

by Jim Casey
photo courtesy Buffalo Trace

Some of the most coveted juice on the market is hitting shelves being released this month. Buffalo Trace Distillery announced the annual release of all six Van Winkle whiskey expressions (Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year, Van Winkle 12 Year, Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye, Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year, Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year, Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year).

To the delight of whiskey drinkers, there will be more bottles of Van Winkle expressions available in 2022 than in recent years, thanks, in part, to higher barrel yields. However, don’t expect retailers to match the bottles’ MSRPs.

“Although we would prefer for retailers to charge our suggested retail pricing, unfortunately we cannot legally force them to do so,” said Julian Van Winkle III, president of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. “The best chance to find our products at a fair price is through lotteries offered by many retailers, where fans have a chance to buy our bourbon at MSRP.”

The Van Winkle family partnered with Buffalo Trace 20 years ago to produce, age, and bottle all of its whiskeys. The Van Winkle family, which still markets and manages the brand, handed its wheated mashbill to the distilling team at Buffalo Trace in 2002 to continue the family legacy it started more than 125 years prior.

MSRPs & Tasting Notes (according to Pappy)

$69.99 – Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10-Year-Old 107 proof

  • Color: Tawny.
  • Nose: Very sweet, with notes of honey, dulce de leche, caramel corn, rooibos tea and lightly toasted nuts. Hints of the wheat and corn are present which enhances the complexity. 
  • Taste: Medium-bodied palate with dried fruit and nuts. Each sip finishes with a very long bold wave of floral honey, caramel, and toasted barrel flavors which counter the weight of the alcohol.
  • Finish: An elegant balance between oak, grain, and maturation.

$79.99 – Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12-Year-Old (90.4 proof)

  • Color: Brilliant amber.
  • Nose: Rich and decadent with butterscotch, toffee, vanilla and hints of nectarine and satsuma adding to the complexity. There is still a wisp of bready wheat present which is perfectly balanced with the spicy and rich oak notes.
  • Taste: Butterscotch and toffee are prominent in the taste but there are also hints of spiced praline which contribute to the long, round finish that is sweet without being cloying.
  • Finish: An outrageously well-crafted bourbon that pays homage to its source ingredients but shows that oak, the right distillate, and patience can create unparalleled depth and balance.

$119.99 – Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13-Year-Old (95.6 proof)

  • Color: Rich copper.
  • Nose: An incredibly enticing and complex aroma with notes of toasted pumpernickel, plum, fig, and sweet-tobacco aromas
  • Taste: Smooth with medium-to full-bodied palate bursting with bold and delicious flavors of toffee, caraway, and dried cherry, and a hint of leather and mint.
  • Finish: A symphony of flavors sits endlessly on the palate, causing the unsuspecting drinker to wish there was an endless supply in their glass.

$119.99 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15-Year-Old (107 proof)

  • Color: Striking, brilliant, copper.
  • Nose: The aroma is seductive with intense sweet brown notes like maple, caramelized sugar, toffee, and toasted almond.
  • Taste: Waves of caramel and toffee meld into familiar memories of fresh-baked holiday spice cookies made with molasses. The mouthfeel is rich, supple, full-bodied and briefly veers toward decadent before the wood influences lend a balancing dryness.
  • Finish: Long, flavorful, and complex. In addition, an unbelievably opulent and flawless bourbon that takes wood and distillate to its absolute pinnacle.

$199.99 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20-Year-Old (90.4 proof)

  • Color: Dark amber with ruby highlights.
  • Nose: This full-bodied bourbon has a sophisticated forefront of leather. With complementary notes of smoke, warm tobacco, treacle, espresso, and charred oak.
  • Taste: The aromas and flavors are endlessly complex and each new sip reveals something new to discover.
  • Finish: Suave and confident with layers of bold, integrated nuances.

$299.99 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23-Year-Old (95.6 proof)

  • Color: Rich mahogany.
  • Nose: Reminiscent of a crisp fall day, with aromas of ripe red apples, cherries and tobacco.
  • Taste: Wood is the star here with supporting notes of caramel, apple, apricot, leather, walnuts, and vanilla Crème Brulé.
  • Finish: Long-lasting and rich, opening with bold flavors of oak and caramel that tease the palate. Before fading slowly and elegantly until the next sip.