Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year was one of my chase bourbons or Unicorns as they are called. Every fall all the members of the Van Winkle family are released. From the hefty 10 Year Old Rip Van Winkle to the aged 23 Year Old Pappy Van Winkle, they are all sought after. I recently had the opportunity to try the 2015 15 Year Old and I was not disappointed.
The first thing I did was just smell this bourbon and took in what I could. My next impression was that of a strong but mellow oak scent. On the edge of the oak was the smell of caramel, honey and pipe tobacco. With increased exposure the scents only intensified. The spices of cinnamon and brown sugar seemed to blend well with tobacco.
My first sip was stunning. There was no noticeable burn that comes with most bourbons. Again, the cinnamon, oak and tobacco make a strong presence. The oak adds the dryness to the taste whereas the tobacco and caramel infusion add the sweetness. More exposure the air only intensifies the taste. Doing the Kentucky chew more thoroughly combines all the flavors. Sweetness seems to be the prevalent aspect followed by the mellowed oak when this is done.
This was one of the most complete finishes I have tried. All levels of the flavors are apparent. With some bourbons you only get heat or you detect some of the tastes but rarely do you get both. This bourbon’s finish slowly fades away leaving a delicious taste left in the mouth.
What can be said other than this bourbon definitely met and exceeded the expectations. I have tried some good bourbons but rarely have I tried one that made me want to instantly have some more. If you ever have the opportunity to try some do not turn it down. Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year is one of the finest bourbons I have ever tried.