Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year and Van Winkle Family Reserve “Lot B” 12 Year: 2016 v. 2017

Van Winkle

The Van Winkle name is the E.F. Hutton of today’s bourbon market – say it in a room of bourbon drinkers, and everyone listens. Or, put another way, say it in a blog post or message board, and everyone has an opinion. Even Justin Timberlake name dropped the Van Winkle brand’s “Pappy” line in a recent interview (while simultaneously showing that he knows as much about whiskey as I know about bringing sexy back).

What invariably gets lots in the hype over the label is what’s actually inside the bottle. How does this stuff taste, anyway? And is there any variation from year-to-year?

We decided to review the Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year and the Van Winkle Family Reserve “Lot B” 12 Year releases from 2016 and 2017. The main purpose of which was to see whether these coveted bourbons have any variation between their annual releases.

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10-Year Wheated Bourbon Showdown: Rebel Yell Single Barrel 10-year vs. Old Rip Van Winkle 10-year

Wheated Bourbon

First, just the facts.

The Rebel Yell brand name is owned by the Luxco company out of St. Louis, Missouri, but is currently produced under agreement with Heaven Hill at the Bernheim distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Old Rip Van Winkle brand name is owned by the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery company, but is currently produced under a joint venture agreement with Sazerac’s Buffalo Trace distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.

While not obvious by either brand name, these two whiskeys share a common and storied history.

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