Monday, April 14, 2014

The Pappy Van Winkle Time Line

Given the popularity of the Van Winkle whiskeys and the number of detailed questions I see about these bottles, I thought it would be helpful to put together a chronology of the various Van Winkle releases.  I've attempted to list all the key release dates and have also tried to document changes to the appearance of the bottles so that people can better date their Van Winkles.

As you'll notice, this list includes general releases only, not private bottlings, of which there were a number in the early days.  In addition, it deals only with bottle appearance and release dates, not with where various releases were distilled.

Our chronology begins in 1972, the year the Van Winkle family sold the Stitzel-Weller distillery to Norton-Simon but kept the rights to the Van Winkle name.

1972:  Old Rip Van Winkle 7 yo 90 and 107 proof released.

1983:  Old Rip Van Winkle 90 & 107 proof changed from 7 to 10 yo.

1989:  Old Rip Van Winkle 15 released, barrel bottle.*

1990-1992:  Van Winkle 16 and 17 yo released for export only.

1991:  Van Winkle 12 yo Lot A and Lot B released (Lot B would continue).

1994:  Pappy Van Winkle 20 released.

1997:  Old Rip Van Winkle 12 Rye released, barrel bottle.

1998:  Pappy Van Winkle 23 and Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 yo released (Rye might have been released in '97).

1999:  Regular bottles for Van Winkle series changed from (very light) green glass to clear glass.

2002:  Address on Van Winkle whiskeys changed from Lawrenceburg to Frankfort when Van Winkles partnered with Buffalo Trace.

2003:  Second release of Pappy 23 (late 2003/early 2004).

2004:  Old Rip Van Winkle 15 (barrel bottle) replaced with Pappy Van Winkle 15 (regular bottle).

2007:  Digital bottle codes showing date and time of bottling begin appearing on each bottle.

2009:  Old Rip Van Winkle 23 decanter released.

Fall 2011:  Last release of Old Rip Van Winkle 10/90.

Spring 2012:  Last spring release of Van Winkle whiskeys.

2013:  Old Rip Van Winkle 10/107 changed from barrel bottles to regular bottles.

It's harder to pin down this information than you would think, and I had lots of help on this list so my thanks go out to everyone who assisted.  Particular thanks go to the Van Winkles for digging through their records to find some of the more elusive dates.

*"Barrel bottles" are the squat bottles that were used for the Old Rip Van Winkle and Old Weller lines, so called because the base of the bottle looks like a barrel, sort of.


Anonymous said...

Great info. Could add that "green glass" was faintly green. Most bourbon geeks know it but some may not.

Anonymous said...

I believe the ORVW 23 Decanter set was released in Fall 2009.

sku said...

Anon 1, good point on the glass.

Anon 2, you are correct. Thanks!

Funky Tape said...

Any info on the different color wax tops on the early 23's? I want to say 2005, but I'm not well versed on the history.

sku said...

Funky Tape, I've got no clue on the wax. Details like that (and more subtle label changes) are tough because the Van Winkles generally didn't keep records of them.

Anonymous said...

I think that you should mention the time when it went from the old juice to the newer BT barrels. And the time frames when if was mixed. The whisky geeks even know the bottle date codes. Saw some shopping specifically for the bottle dated codes last year.

Anonymous said...

A couple export notes to add:
- 700ml in bourbons until 2011. 2012 forward was all 750ml.
- rye changed to 750ml in 2009.
- 10 yo was in a current style bottle until 2011 but 700ml. 2012 was barrel style 750ml.

Anonymous said...

Sku, thanks for this immensely helpful post. One thing I am a little foggy on is from 1972 to 2002, whether the Van Winkle brands were still being made at Stitzel Weller distillery under Norton-Simon ownership, or were they simply bottling from existing stock from the Lawrenceberg warehouse.

sku said...

No one knows the answer to that question (well, no one who's talking). We know that not all of the Van Winkle brands from that period were bottled from Stitzel-Weller stocks because the Van Winkles have stated that the first editions of the 15 and 20 year old releases were distilled at the Boone distillery. Beyond that, it's certainly likely that much of what they bottled had been distilled at SW, but we don't know.

Trent said...

How do I find out what batches two bottles of Pappy 23 are? One is C2971 and one is C1870. There is no laser code that I can find looking closely.

sku said...

The written numeric codes aren't helpful. If it doesn't have a laser code (assuming it wasn't rubbed off by an unscrupulous dealer), it is from 2007 or earlier (but do look carefully for the code; it can be very hard to see against the dark whiskey). Beyond that, you would have to use the markers listed in the timeline: Does it say Lawrenceburg or Frankfort? Is it green or clear glass? Those answers will give you some idea of the date.

Stacey said...

We have a bottle of Pappy 23 and are trying to determine the year. It's in a clear bottle. The bottom of the label reads "04.6074.01 Bottled by Old Rip Van Winkle * Frankfort. There's no laser code on it. The front has Bottle # B 8774. What do you think?

sku said...

Stacey, based on what you have said, the best I can tell you is it's from 2002-2006. Is there a website listed on the label? That went on around 2004 so that would further date it.

Anonymous said...

I have a bottle van winkle family reserve 10years 80proof. Can't find any information.

Anonymous said...

I have a bottle of 15 year old Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 750ml. (107 proof).
Clear bottle with no laser code or website. The bottom of the back label is 06.6074.01 and the front is 04.6074.01 bottled by Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, Frankfort KY. I am assuming 2004-2006 but am curious as to the difference between the front code and back code (04 vs. 06). This was won (the right to be purchased) at a liquor store about 3 years ago. Thoughts?
A prized possession not for sale, I am also curious about your thoughts of its current value.

Krank Bank said...

I have the exact same bottle and am curious too about the 04-06...

Unknown said...

I have a brand new bottle of Van Winkle SR 12. There are laser codes on the bottle. Do they mean anything?
Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

This year the pappy van winkle 15 years switched from black to red foil

Anonymous said...

2016+ has a new laser code format.


Letter indicates that it is the lot code
First two numbers indicate the year
Next three numbers indicate the Julian date
Digits 5 and 6 indicate the plant where it was bottled (01=Buffalo Trace)
Two digits on either side of colon represent the time in 24hr format
Last letter is the line on which it was bottled

So, bottled on the 243rd day of 2017 at Buffalo Trace at 4:53pm on line N

Unknown said...

Hi everyone, I have a bottle of rip 10 a stout bottle. The neck label is there and the middle label stating that it is 10 yr. However the lower labels are gone completely. There's no laser code, but there are markings on the bottom of the bottle. I don't know where to start, but these are the markings... There's what looks to be a JG 3516 42 on the left of that. 02 on the right of the JG 3516, and at the bottom of the group is a 24 circled. Between the 24 circled and the 02 there's an A. Oh the neck label is maroon and the middle label stating the yr is gold outlining maroon with gold lettering. The fill level is just above the bottom of the neck. Any help pertaining to yr and value would be greatly appreciated.

sku said...

@Jeremy Blackwell, hard to know for sure without seeing it but based on your description, likely 2002 or 2003.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your help. Does the lower labels missing affect the value much? And what would be a educated guess on value? if you don't mind my asking. Thank you again for your help.

Unknown said...

I have a 23 yr old pappy. There is a code at the back of the bottle. But can’t make much sense of it. There are a few extra digits from what I understand. It is L172490111:00N
Can anyone help me decipher this?

Unknown said...

Question i have a code L172540109:577 any ideas if it real

Unknown said...

I have 12 year lot b without a laser on bottle, I'm scared it might be fake. I also have 10 year with a weird code B1705308:017
I bought from a liquor store but after I bought, they had 2 more bottles on shelf. Is that normal.

furlong220 said...

Was looking through a box of liquors I had packed away a few years ago for safe keeping and pulled the PVW 23 yr old. I tried to nail down the bottling year some years ago but was only able to get a range, June 2002- late summer 2005, from the distillery. Wondering if it is from the second release in the 2003-2004 time frame. The bottle is clear glass, has a gold wax seal, the label has raised lettering and indicates "Pappy Van Winkle's and Family Reserve, "Bottle B830", "04.6074.01", and "Bottled by Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery Frankfort, Kentucky", and there's a black velvet bag with a gold drawstring. Any thoughts anyone?

Unknown said...

I have a bottle of pappy van winkles 15 year family reserve date code B1618121:374 Can any one tell me when this was bottled . Thank you

Anonymous said...

I have a pappy 23 released for the uk market fr2588. Any thoughts on when this was released