Fall is whiskey drop season, and there is no whiskey drop more closely followed than that of the annual allotment of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.
Announced this week, 2020’s Pappy Van Winkle Collection will be available at liquor stores, bars and restaurants in November. No specific dates were given in the press release.
The most significant change from previous collection drops is quantity, which, sadly for most Pappy hunters, has dropped for the most sought-after bottles.
"While the amount of 10, 12 and 15-year bourbon will be about the same as previous years, unfortunately the 20 and 23-year-old barrels yielded far fewer bottles this fall. Good news is there is more 13-year rye than in years’ past," the press release announcing the collection's release, reads.
For the uninitiated, the 20- and 23-year-old are the most valuable of the collection, with prices on secondary Facebook black markets rising steadily through the years.
This year’s release doesn’t stray from previous years in terms of bottle variety and suggested retail price remained level — Old Rip Van Winkle 10-Year-Old Bourbon ($70), Old Rip Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12-Year-Old ($80), Old Rip Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13-Year-Old ($120), Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15-Year-Old ($120), Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20-Year-Old ($200) and Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23-Year-Old ($300).
As always with Pappy bourbon, take the manufacturer’s suggested price with a grain of salt. Retailers know the value of bottles on the second-hand market and price their own allocations accordingly. Retailer and second-hand bourbon buying market price gouging has become so rampant, president of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery Julian Van Winkle has addressed it in the announcement of the Pappy collections in recent years.
“Unfortunately we cannot control the price retailers charge, so some retailers mark it up beyond our MSRP, even though we ask them not to,” Van Winkle said in this year's (and last year's) press release. “We are committed to releasing a quality product and hope retailers will honor what we suggest as a fair retail price.”
In the same release, Buffalo Trace warned consumers to “be wary of online resellers such as Craigslist and other online marketplaces, especially private Facebook and MeWe groups.”