Julian Van Winkle III introduced Van Winkle Special Reserve in 1991. It was a step in creating interest in older Bourbons that would eventually lead to his Pappy Van Winkle line of Bourbons. This is a Bourbon made with wheat as the flavoring grain and it has always been a popular brand with Bourbon enthusiasts.
A lot has changed since the brand was created with the now long gone Stitzel-Weller Bourbon and later some Bernheim distillate. Now Buffalo trace distilled Bourbon is in the bottle. It is not the same as the original but it is pretty darn close! Julian is an expert in picking barrels that meet his flavor profile and this bottling is no exception. This is what I call a good “Book Bourbon”. Serve up a hefty pour in a glass and sit down with a good book. Sip the Bourbon every 15 or 20 minutes and enjoy its changes as it breathes.
Van Winkle Special Reserve Lot “B”
Age: 12 Years Old
Nose: Rich buttery caramel toffee, a hint of ripe apple and pecans. As it breathes some nice chocolate notes come out to play.
Taste: Caramel apple and pecans with a hint of sweet spices – nutmeg and allspice. Also tasting a dried cranberry makes it almost brandy-like with fruit and caramel. Tasting a pecan along with the bourbon really brings out the caramel and a bit of chocolate.
Finish: Starts sweet with caramel and vanilla but dries out nicely with oak and spice. The dried cranberry makes the finish fruitier before drying out with some oak tannins. The pecan makes the finish very fruity and long before the oak rounds out the flavor.
This is a great Bourbon to sit back and savor. It pairs well with a cigar and I enjoy a Padron Maduro of any style with this Bourbon.