It’s that time of year again, Pappy fans: Buffalo Trace has unveiled the 2022 Van Winkle lineup. More bottles of almost every new Van Winkle whiskey will be available this year compared to previous years. Why is that? Well, ten years ago Buffalo Trace put away more of these notoriously elusive whiskeys, and coincidentally those same whiskeys had higher yields than normal when being moved from barrel to bottle. That said, the likelihood of finding and purchasing a bottle (and at the suggested retail price) remains slim, as nationwide allocations certainly endure.
So, just how do these new whiskeys stack up against last year’s releases? At face value, everything from the name of the whiskeys to their prices is the same, with the lineup as follows:
- Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10 year old 107 Proof (53.5% ABV, $70)
- Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 year old (45.2% ABV; $80)
- Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 year old (47.8% ABV, $120)
- Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 year old (53.5% ABV, $120)
- Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 year old (45.2% ABV, $200)
- Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 year old (47.8% ABV, $300)
As per usual, all five of the Van Winkle bourbons feature a wheated recipe, creating the longer aging and smoother, sweeter flavors that are critical to the Pappy spirit. (The rye, meanwhile, remains the only rye the brand has ever offered.) This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the partnership between the Van Winkle family and Buffalo Trace; in 2002, the two entities agreed Buffalo Trace would produce, age, and bottle all of its whiskeys in order to carry on the family legacy.
While the prices start at what the Van Winkle family and Buffalo Trace team jointly refer to as fair, the actual retail pricing—both at licensed liquor stores and in private (not recommended) channels—skews far higher, with bottles fetching thousands of dollars in resale markets. In recent years, Buffalo Trace has made a more ardent effort to warn Van Winkle hopefuls against purchasing the whiskeys on online platforms like Facebook or Craigslist, and has taken to encouraging consumers to file complaints with the Better Business Bureaus when they see dramatically inflated prices. This year, as with previous years, your best bet of securing a bottle is to enter a lottery offered by a retailer; Van Winkle whiskeys will start landing in retailers’ hands later this month. Happy hunting!