Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15 Years Old Bourbon Whiskey Review

IMG_1898I thought I’d kick off my first whiskey review with what’s up to now my favorite bourbon overall – Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 Years Old.

You probably already know the background, hype, and near unobtainable status of this whiskey.  Making Pappy 15 year my first review tells you a little about my bourbon leanings – I prefer bourbon on the sweeter, slightly woodier side.  I enjoy a high rye mash bill, but I lean towards the softer wheated bourbons a little more.

I find this particular bourbon sweet, soft, and smooth, even at 107 proof.  I guess 15 years in a barrel will do that to whiskey.  It’s not too woody, which is an observation I often come across when reading about Van Winkle’s 23 year old expression.  I know it’s cliche, but there’s a lot of caramel, vanilla, and butterscotch here.  The folks at Buffalo Trace really know what they’re doing.


It’s got just the right amount of burn.  It’s not too much and not too sharp.  It’s nearly perfect.

Okay, cost.  The suggested retail price is about $79.  By some stroke of luck, I paid only slightly more than that.  Is it worth $79? Yes, if you can find it. You can get great whiskies for under $25, but this one’s special.  For me, this is a bourbon that comes out for special occasions only.

This one lives up to the hype.  9.5/10


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