Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Chalice: Glencairn glass
Color in glass: warm orange/red, light autumn copper
Smell: candied watermelon, strawberry fruit, sweet banana candy corn, caramel nutmeg, raspberry blossom.
Taste: dried, pressed strawberry honey, banana chip, leather undertones, earthy grass supporting the balanced fruit. Strawberry perfume on the edges with orange/lemon leading to a light, unmistakable leather tannin center.
The heat expresses itself almost exclusively in a caramelized-fruity mist. A slightly tangy, acidic wormwood lingers towards the back of the tongue, perfectly anchoring the sweet fruit ride.
Just the tastiest, most balanced, smoothest, most pleasurable bourbon I can imagine. This Pappy 20 is the finest bourbon I have ever had to privilege to imbibe. That being said, I must confess that any whiskey whose character has been finessed in the filtering and/or proofing process, regardless of the superiority of the spirit, loses some points with me; I hold the naked honesty of an unfiltered, barrel-proof product with the utmost regard. A perfect bourbon would be naked as well as balanced, pleasing, complex, and wide yet personable. Mind you, I do not hold it against the Pappy 20 in the slightest. If I question how I could be more pleased with a bourbon, my only answer at this point is that the intellectual stimulation in knowing I was drinking something straight out of the barrel would be the only factor that could deepen my satisfaction of the experience.