Review #114: Old Rip Van Winkle 2018

While Old Rip Van Winkle is the youngest of the Van Winkle line up it has long been one of my favorite bourbons and is generally cheaper for me to drink it at a bar than to purchase a bottle. Unfortunately, someone finished off the Wizard Pappy allocations from my usual spots; thanks to a local bourbon group and some luck I ended up with a 2015 and a 2018 ORVW without paying completely exorbitant prices.

I needed something special to break in my new review scale and Austin Bourbon Hunters Northside glencairns so let’s see if this tastes as good at home as it did at drink.well!

Old Rip Van Winkle 2018

Age: 10 years

Abv: 107 proof

Color: A dark amber

Price: $59.99 - (my cost was ~$150)


Nose: Sweet brown sugar, warm spice and vanilla. Strong aromas without being harsh.

Taste: More brown sugar, dark cherry and warm spice with a viscous, velvety mouthfeel and just a bit of vanilla

Finish: Medium to long finish that’s slightly dry with a balance of sweet honey, baking spice and oak notes


This was delicious. It’s everything I want from a wheated bourbon very sweet with brown sugar or butterscotch notes, enough age to mellow out any harshness and have some nice oak without becoming too bitter or dry, some nice fruit notes to round it out and 107 proof is right in my preferred proof range (generally 100-110).

This was definitely a significant step up from the other 107 proof Buffalo Trace wheater, Old Weller Antique, and while it shared some of the same basic characteristics the extra aged does it a lot of favors. I am going try and grab some samples of a couple OWA store picks and do a blind tasting to control for the hype factor.

I would immediately buy another bottle at $150 though I’m not sure I’ll ever have the chance.

10 - an all time favorite, must buy/hunt

Great - A steal at this price point

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