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Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Whiskey Review

by Jim Casey
Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Whiskey Review
photo by Outsider

There’s no “Pappy” in Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon, but the 10-year-old spirit is one of the six Van Winkle expressions that Buffalo Trace Distillery releases annually. The Van Winkle family partnered with Buffalo Trace 21 years ago to produce, age, and bottle all of its whiskeys. Now, it’s some of the most coveted bourbon in the world, routinely going for thousands of dollars above MSRP.

We got our hands on a 2022 bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10. Let’s get sipping and see if this whiskey is worth the hype.

At a Glance

  • Company: Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery
  • Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery
  • Manufacturer: Sazerac Company
  • Location: Frankfort, KY
  • Style: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Proof: 107
  • MSRP: 69.99
  • Website | Twitter
photo by Outsider

Old Rip Van Winkle Review: What We Say

NoseApple Cider, Fresh-Cut Hay, Honeyed Wheat, Cherry Blossoms, Cocoa
PalateInviting Warmth, Caramel Popcorn, Apple Butter, Candied Fruit, Toasted Marshmallow
FinishMexican Chocolate, Sweet Leather, Long Finish
What You Can Expect to Pay$600+
Buy It: Now, Soon, Later, NeverNow (-$150)
Outsider Rating95/100
photo by Outsider

The nose opens with the welcoming warmth of sweet apple cider, followed by wafts of fresh-cut hay and rich honeyed wheat. There’s more floral warmth on the way, with the slightest tinge of cocoa and cherry blossoms. It’s definitely sweet, both fruity and grassy. On the palate, the warmth is inviting, to say the least. The first taste yields notes of fresh caramel popcorn and creamy apple butter. Chewing evokes more sweetness in the form of candied fruit and marshmallow, like a sweet potato casserole topped with toasted marshmallow and pecans. In other words, it’s like dessert for dinner. The finish is long and delicious with the lingering hints of Mexican chocolate (just a tad of cayenne) and sweet leather, before the candied fruit fades, and fades, and fades. It’s creamy and rich and delicate. It’s not so much layered and complex as it is truly harmonious. Fabulous.

Worth $600 or more? Not for me, but I’d snatch up this bottle for $150.

What Old Rip Van Winkle Says About ORVW 10

This wonderful bourbon is bottled as close to barrel proof as possible. We add just a splash of our Kentucky limestone well-water when we empty the barrels for bottling. Thus, this whiskey is as smooth as any you will find. See a rich, copper color. Smell enticingly sweet, spicy, caramel-nut-fudge aromas. Enjoy a fruity, medium-to full-bodied palate with intense dried fruit and toasted nuts notes. Each sip finishes with a very long, bold wave of peppery brown spices, floral honey and charred barrel flavors that balance the weight of the alcohol. It’s a big, bold, aged bourbon that has great balance for its high proof and flavor.

Neat. End of story.

If You Like ORVW 10, Try

photo by Outsider
  • Weller Antique 107
  • Distillery: Buffalo Trace
  • Location: Frankfort, KY
  • Style: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Proof: 107
  • MSRP: $50

No one is saying Weller Antique 107 is easy to find, but it’s easier to find than Old Rip Van Winkle. And while you probably won’t get it for its $50 MSRP, it’s still a worthy purchase at double the price if you’re after a sip that’s very, very (did I say very?) similar to ORVW.

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