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    Pappy was released just over a week ago and by now you’ll be hard-pressed to find any still for sale in the tri-state area. Basically liquid gold, Pappy’s demand has risen astronomically in the past few years, now making it one of the most sought-after bourbon labels on the market - and one of the most expensive.

    What do the common folk do when they want to get a taste of this high class spirit? We look for the next best thing:


    W.L. Weller 12-Year
    “The original wheated bourbon,” shares a lot of characteristics of Pappy, another wheated bourbon (wheated basically means that rather than rye, wheat makes up the largest percentage of the mash bill -- after corn, obviously). Weller’s and Pappy’s shared history with Stitzel-Weller -- and now Sazerac -- ties them closely together. Distilled by Buffalo Trace, the Weller 12 year is smooth, with notes of caramel and butterscotch. A bottle will set you back about $30.


    Another bourbon with close ties to the van Winkle family, Larceny finds its roots in Old Fitzgerald, a brand once distilled by the van Winkles at Stitzel-Weller. Now the label is distilled by Heaven Hill, which reportedly altered the recipe to taste more like the bourbon of the famous founding family. You’ll catch a huge break on the cost, which sits around $25. The blended bourbon has a buttery caramel, honey taste that you’ll love.

    Willett Pot Still Reserve Bourbon
    Single barrel, aged eight to 10 years and sold in its signature decanter, Willett Pot Still Reserve has made a name for itself in the short time it’s been on the market. The label hit shelves in 2008, presenting floral and citrus notes, with a spicy finish to win over bourbon lovers. At present, Willett isn’t distilling the bourbon on-site, just aging in. They haven’t stated where the distillation is happening, but it’s reportedly from nearby Heaven Hill, which also produces Larceny. Willett began distilling in 2012, so we can presumably expect the company to produce it from start to finish around 2020. A bottle costs around $40.


    Old Weller Antique KY Straight Bourbon
    In the same line as as the Weller 12-year above, Antique is a tribute to the Weller’s 1849 recipe and shares the same family ties to Pappy. It’s another wheated bourbon, and it’s produced in the same location, with the same proof, as Old Rip van Winkle - not the infamous “Pappy,” but in the same family. The bourbon has sweet, floral notes, vanilla, and a cinnamon finish. You can find a bottle for $25.


    Jefferson’s Presidential Select
    Originally starting with the 17- and 18-year iterations, these were other wheated bourbons with van Winkle ties, apparently distilled in the old Stitzel-Weller distillery and aged in Stitzel-Weller barrels. The wells on these have basically run dry, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a bottle (and if you did, it would cost upwards of $800).
    But Jefferson’s Select continues, pulling found extra-aged barrels from a number of rick houses. You can still find others in the series, though none of them are wheated: 21-year rye, 21-year rye mashbill, 25-year rye mashbill and 30-year rye mashbill. Jefferson hasn’t put an MSRP on most of these, so prices vary - from $90 to around $500.

    Photo: Shutterstock/monticello


    Michelle Eigenheer's picture

    About Michelle Eigenheer

    A Louisville transplant beginning to appreciate all the city's small things.

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