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Old Rip Van Winkle 10-Year

53.5% ABV - Kentucky, USA

Nose: This is more of a fruit forward bourbon on the noise – delicious! Cherries, vanilla, and a light oak or woodiness. It’s generally lighter than I expected and that’s the only thing keeping this from being perfect.

Taste: Still fruits – and lots of ‘em – but the wood makes a stronger appearance. It’s a very well balanced duo in the glass. Some light vanilla and sweet notes mix into the finish.

Finish: Lasting sweetness, with Red Rose tea, some light citrus, further woodiness, and mild cooked fruits.

It’s reaalllly too bad that the Old Rip Van Winkle 10-Year is so hard to find… this is a fantastic bourbon with good value compared to some of the single malts that I buy (of course that is commentary on the retail price and completely ignoring the secondary markup). Kudos to my father as he managed to get this bourbon at cost as part of the 2018 BC Liquor Stores Annual ‘Spirits Release’ (his name was pulled in the draw; approximately $175 CAD after taxes).

As this one is bottled at 107 proof, water really, really helps to bring out the flavours and eliminate any of that alcohol astringency/heat. I find the Old Rip Van Winkle 10-Year to be more approachable than most bourbons, and I think that’s why the fill level is already only one third remaining. It has also proven to be a bit more popular than other bottles when it’s put out for sharing (and wow, I am really starting to miss gatherings)!

This whiskey was tasted side-by-side(-by-side) with George T. Stagg (2018) and Michter’s Sour Mash. I figured that since I do not drink bourbons very often (yes, or American whiskey), that I would write notes for all of them together! I think it really helped to pick out some of the nuances.

Details: 2018 Release.

Tasting Notes (Official): A sweet vanilla nose with caramel, pecan and oak wood. Smooth, mellow flavor consisting of robust wheat, cherries and oak. Features a long, smoky wheat finish with hints of fruit, spice and oak tannins.

Tasted 11 June 2020. (Posted 13 June 2020.)

94/100
Detailed Rating Information...

90+: Fantastic whisky; highly recommended. My favourite whiskies – I might have more than one bottle if the price is right and the supply is limited! The higher values in this range will reflect a stronger balance and consistency between components.
85-89: Great whisky; recommended. Whiskies that really tick the flavour boxes and you'll likely hear about these from me. Great bottles to have stocked at all times.
80-84: Very good whisky; recommended, but still consider trying before you buy. Anything is this range or above I would gladly order at a restaurant or buy a bottle.
75-79: Good whisky; consider trying before you buy. These are whiskies that I enjoyed drinking, but likely would reach for another bottle from the shelf or select something different to order.
65-74: Average; consider trying before you buy, but not recommended. There is nothing that stood out about this whisky and I might be inclined to mix it with soda or in a cocktail, instead of trying to enjoy its own flavours.
50-64: Bad; not recommended.


Whisky Bottle