Why Is Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon So Rare?

Tracking down a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon is kind of like winning the alcohol lottery. It's not easy to get your hands on this unique label, and if you do happen to find yourself with the opportunity to sample a dram, be prepared to pay dearly for it. A single shot of this booze once ran over $300 at a bar in New York City, largely because the bottle was one out of only 710 produced that year. It's safe to safe this is as close to liquid gold as you might get. 

For whiskey lovers, however, Pappy Van Winkle is the Holy Grail. Sips of the sweet and spicy bourbon offer rich rewards of a complex palate that includes caramel, oak, nuts, vanilla, maple, citrus, spice, and honey. Plus, you know you're tasting a piece of history with each drink, but how did this label become so coveted in the world of libations? Much of it has to do with the limited supply that is produced annually.

A bourbon that inspires frenzy

Pappy Van Winkle is aged longer than most bourbons, and the distillery behind the label only produces a limited supply each year. An online store locator can help eager connoisseurs track down bottles before it's too late. With around 84,000 bottles sold annually, stock disappears fast, and even American state officials have been caught attempting to pull strings to procure bottles intended for the general public. 

When the Beverage Testing Institute rated the bourbon in 1996, the highest rating ever granted to a whiskey was given to a 20-year-old blend of Pappy Van Winkle. Since that review, the fever to find this alcohol has only escalated. One limited edition 25-year-old bottle is available for purchase at the cost of over $50,000 online. 

If you're going to enjoy a whiskey neat, Pappy Van Winkle is the one to pour. To chill the booze without diluting your dram with unnecessary ice, reach for a stone or stainless steel whiskey cube to keep the tasting experience as pure as possible.