Van Winkle 1975 Special Reserve 19 Year Old for Corti Brothers / Stitzel-Weller
The Old Rip Van Winkle brand was a pre-prohibition bourbon label, revived by the Van Winkle family after they were forced to sell their Stitzel-Weller distillery by its board of directors. New owners, Somerset Imports, granted Julian Van Winkle II (son of the famous 'Pappy') the continued use of an office at the distillery, and first option on purchasing casks to bottle his new brand with. When he died and the business passed to his son, Julian III, this courtesy was no longer extended, and he moved bottling to the old Hoffman distillery in Lawrenceburg in 1983, renaming it Old Commonwealth. He was still able to buy Stitzel-Weller stock though, and introduced the famous Pappy Van Winkle range in homage to his grandfather, using well-aged barrels from the distillery the now-legendary figure once so lovingly ran. When Stitzel-Weller was closed down by United Distillers in 1992, it was only a matter of time before stock would run out. This necessitated a partnership between Julian Van Winkle III and Buffalo Trace distillery in 2002, seeing all bottling move there, initially using the remaining Stitzel-Weller barrels, with these eventually replaced by Buffalo Trace distilled stock. The product from all eras is revered, and the brand is considered to be the first premium bourbon line to have been produced in the US.
An exceptionally rare release, this was bottled for the Corti Brothers of Sacramento, CA, in 1994. The Corti Brothers were a family grocer business founded in 1947 by Frank and Gino. Frank's son Darrell was the one to introduce a specialist spirits knowledge to the business, and they began getting their own Scotch whisky bottled for them in 1978. They contracted their first exclusive Van Winkle Special Reserve bottling in 1987, and this is one of only a handful which followed.
The Van Winkle Family Reserve and Special Reserve brands were developed by Julian III with Gordon Hue, the owner of the legendary Cork n’ Bottle in northern Kentucky. Hue had previously worked with Darrell Corti on their Bicentennial Bourbon in the 1970s, and it was his idea to add prestige to the bottlings by using cognacaise glass, procured from the Corti's contacts at Domaine Chandon in the Napa Valley. Finding Julian III receptive, the idea quickly became a reality and in 1984 the Van Winkle Family Reserve was born. Just as the bourbon industry was approaching all time post-Prohibition low, Julian Van Winkle III launched what could be considered America’s first fully fledged premium whiskey brand. What seemed like madness was in fact a stroke of genius. Gordon Hue had distribution deals in Europe and crucially, Japan, which in contrast to the US was falling in love with bourbon, particularly the “over-aged” variety that Americans would turn their noses up at. Bottlings like this one are therefore another example of the impressive knowledge of the Corti Brothers, and the confidence in their products that has been so unanimously vindicated over the years by those who have tasted their whiskies.
Distilled in 1975, this is a Stitzel-Weller bourbon.
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Please note: Due to the various ages of bottles and their seals, condition of liquid is at the buyer's discretion and no claim can be lodged against failure/leakage in transit.