FRANKFORT, Ky.—Yes, you read that correctly. Buffalo Trace is releasing 710 bottles of an extra-special, one-time bottling of Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon in April.
As you can imagine, it’ll put a rip, slash, beat-down on your wallet if you can even get one.
According to a news release, only 11 barrels comprise this very small batch bourbon, making the release especially rare. Translation: Pappy 23 will be well whiskey before you even see one of these. Bourbon unicorns will be as common as stray dogs compared to this.
Suggested retail price is $1,800 for a 100-proof, 750 ml bottle—likely half of what it’ll cost on the secondary market. No word on which retailers will get it, whether fans have to stand in line for a lottery pick to get a chance to merely bow before the box or provide their first born as collateral to actually get one. Details to be released, we’re certain.
For whiskey historians out there, here’s the backstory: The barrels were distilled in the spring and fall of 1989 and stored on the lower levels of a metal clad warehouse at the Van Winkle family distillery in Shively. In 2002 those barrels were moved to Buffalo Trace, where the whiskey continued aging another 12 years on the lower, cooler floors of its brick warehouses. In 2014 the whiskey was dumped into stainless steel tanks to halt the aging process.
Each bottle of ORVW 25 will come in a handmade, decanter from Glencarin Crystal Studio in Scotland. The bottle information is engraved on each decanter, individually numbered, and hand finished with a silver stopper. In case you don’t like silver, a glass stopper is included as well. Each bottle will be ensconced in a handmade wooden box crafted in North Carolina by James Broyhill II of Heritage Handcrafted. The lid is constructed using the oak staves from the 11 barrels that held this bourbon. The outside of the box bears a metal plaque with the Old Rip Van Winkle logo and states “asleep 25 years in the wood.” And inside each box will be a bourbon certificate of authenticity, numbered and signed by Julian Van Winkle, grandson of original founder Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr.
“We are excited to be able to offer something so unique and rare for our most devoted fans,” Julian Van Winkle, president, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, said in a news release. “This is a once in a lifetime offering and the beautiful decanter and wooden box just take it to the next level and make it something in which I’m very proud to be associated.”