The second of the Van Winkle line I’ve tried for this blog, Old Rip Van Winkle (107 proof variety) is one of the entry-level tiers of the esteemed line of bourbons that includes the famed Pappy Van Winkles. All the Van Winkles are wheated bourbons, so I’m expecting that softer edge to come through, but the extra aging (ten years total) might complicate that a bit.
Apologies for not providing my own photo here, the camera is having some battery trouble tonight.
– Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery
– 107 proof
This is definitely a package that pushes its old-timeyness to the forefront. Several different fonts adorn the front label, including an elaborate script that dominates most of the bottom half. These sorts of things usually get on my nerves, but it does avoid old-timey anonymity with the two charming storybook prints from the Rip Van Winkle tale that stand on either side of the front label. Old Rip asleep with his gun and and jug of booze make this packaging unique.
The back text, however, says nothing of substance or note and even describes the whiskey’s character as “great”.
The wood from its ten years in the barrel is very strong on the nose, but backed by a honeysuckle scent and a distant hint of smoke. When tasting it, the first impression is how strongly the high proof comes through – this is a hot one. Beyond that though, the wood character is prominent but balanced by a good amount black pepper and some of sweet apple peeking through at times. The finish is medium-long and peppery.
Once you get past its strength, this bourbon is quite good. It’s definitely something to sip slowly and I might even try it with an ice cube to tame the power a bit. Definitely not on the same level as the others in the Van Winkle family, but a something I’ll surely come back to.