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Van Winkle 1970 Family Reserve Bourbon / Stitzel-Weller

Lot: 5026494

Van Winkle 1970 Family Reserve Bourbon / Stitzel-Weller

Winning Bid: £9,600
(Reserve not met) This lot currently has: 41 bids

Currency Estimate

Important: Currency exchange rates are constantly changing; this feature is to be used as a guide price only. All final transactions occur in British Pounds (£).
14 Year Old
Kentucky, USA
Official / Old Commonwealth
Cask Type: 
Bottled Strength: 
90.4 us proof
Bottle Size: 
Distillery Status: 
product Details

Van Winkle 1970 Family Reserve Bourbon

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 the original release of the Van Winkle Family Reserve brand, developed by Julian III with Gordon Hue, the owner of the legendary Cork n’ Bottle in northern Kentucky. Hue had previously approached Julian II with a less-than-well-received proposition to add prestige to his Stitzel-Weller bourbon by bottling it in cognac-style bottles instead of his attention-deflecting decanters. Finding Julian III more 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. Hue bought 14 and 16 year old Van Winkle bourbons for his eager export markets in a harmonious relationship that only ended with the revelation from Julian III that he no longer had the requisite age whiskey in his warehouses for him.

This Stitzel-Weller bourbon was distilled in February 1970 and bottled in December 1984.

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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.