"The collection represented a twenty-four-year “vertical” of W. L. Weller Special Reserve containing a bottle from every year from 1987 to 2010. Vintage Weller is a substance direly coveted by bourbon fanatics. It is a close sibling of Pappy Van Winkle, a bourbon over which the whiskey world has lately gone insane. Empty bottles of Pappy can sell on eBay for upwards of a hundred dollars. A full bottle, when it can be found, will set you back thousands. The good news is that modern-day Weller is a lot easier to find than Pappy, and it is genetically identical to the celebrated stuff. Weller and Pappy enter the world in the same distillation. As they age, the most extraordinary barrels get set aside for the Van Winkle line. The unchosen ones are sent off to market under the Weller label at a bit north of twenty dollars a bottle, within reach of the common man." - From The Great Bourbon Taste Test - By Wells Tower, Garden and Gun
Just in time for Pappy Hunting season and you don't want to miss out on this opportunity to get some Pappy Winkle, the best Bourbon in the World. This is a private membership club for those 21 years and older. It is designed to help you locate a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle or other hard-to-find bottle of bourbon for your collection.
We will pick the brains of those who have found multiple bottles over the years and introduce you to some their strategies for finding it.
Plus if you're not 100% happy with the Pappy Club on January 1, 2016, you can ask for a refund. (That's about when Pappy hunting season ends each year.)
It's July and that means it's time to start thinking about the Holy Grail of Bourbons --- Pappy Van Winkle.
In about 3 months -- when college football hits its stride, the stock market preps for a meltdown, and all the weird folks (you know the ones who proclaim Halloween their favorite holiday) start spending hours setting up their yards to scare little kids -- PVW will start to hit the shelves.
Well, to be honest, it never really makes it the shelves. But figuratively speaking, Pappy Van Winkle arrives and disappears quicker than you can say cheers or salute or whatever it is you say when you have some of the best tasting stuff in your hands and throw it back with a smile on your face and a sense of deep satisfaction in your gut, knowing you just laid hold of one of the rarest and hardest to find bourbons on the planet.
Yes, there is tons of hype about this stuff and it is beyond way overpriced in the secondary market. Still, if you get it for less than five times retail --- (it goes for 10 or more in some places) --- I swear, you'll think you got a bargain.
But I digress. I am here now to tell you the 3 (there are probably more) strategies that I know of for scoring, laying your hands on, i.e. finding Pappy Van Winkle.
Here they are:
1. Get Lucky as Hell
Okay were you that kid that just woke up and everything went right? You know the one with a "silver spoon" jammed in his mouth. I've never experienced this, but I swear I've heard stories about it. Stuff like, my wife was pregnant and I went out to buy her a jar of peanut butter and some pickles and I saw this little liquor store and thought WTF why don't I see if they have Pappy. Of course this is like the 500th time I've done it, BUT this time, lo and behold, the store has a bottle of dusty PVW sitting right there on the shelf and the guy sells it to me at straight retail.
Hours later, my kid is born, my wife is hungry --- and mad as hell --- and I'm sitting here in my car with a giddy smirk on my face wondering when I should drink this stuff.
2. Schmooze (i.e. be your liquor store owners best friend, talk to him about bourbon all the time and --- buy his most expensive, top-shelf bourbon until he practically gives you a bottle of PVW.)
Hell you've earned it.
You spent hundreds, probably thousands, of dollars and you have proved to him that you love and know a lot of shit about bourbons, especially good ones, rare ones, and expensive ones.
Of course, this is not a fail-safe method and in the end you can end up spending a lot of money and getting nada. But, on the bright side, you'll likely have found many other bourbons that are great -- and almost (or as good as) the unfindable Pappy Van Winkle.
If you have money to burn this is the strategy to employ. If you have money to burn, and then some, it is best to do it at multiple stores in your locale. You are just about guaranteed to score some Pappy.
3. Play the Lottery
Due to the popularity of PVW, many liquor stores have defaulted to a lottery and the best ones (I love you guys) do a "straight up" lottery, meaning they throw your name in a hat, or a box, and pick it and sell you this golden elixir at suggested retail.
Others (the assholes or buck makers --- I say this affectionately) give you the "opportunity" to buy it at a multiple over retail --- and as long as it is not too harsh, you probably still got a damn good deal.
Here's How You Play --- and Now Is a Damn Good Time to Get Started
Call or visit every store in your locale or extended locale and ask how they parcel out PVW.
If they have a waiting list put your name on it. (Some will make you come in to do so, but who can blame them). You should buy a bottle or six of something just for the sake of good karma.
Wait and --- if you're damn lucky or you've been really good or whatever else you believe moves the universe --- you will get a call and an opportunity to buy the Big Kahuna of Bourbons.
(Disclaimer - I have heard about the first two strategies, but have not lived them. I have lived the third one and secured a bottle of Pappy 3 out of 4 years. So I know it can work.)
A Bonus Strategy That's Not Near As Fun or Satisfying
If all else fails, pay a shitload of money on bottlespot.com or liquorlist.com or the like.
But, I swear, it will not taste as good as when you score it the good, old-fashioned, hard way --- by grit, determination, and a lot of hustle.