Whiskey Rebellion
May 15, 2015 5:52 AM   Subscribe

That's crazy stuff. A little while ago I got an e-mail from Beverages and More asking if I wanted to enter basically a lottery to get the chance to buy a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle, and although I don't drink bourbon at all, I had heard the stuff was valuable, so I did. I 'won' and got to buy a bottle of the 15-year for ~$100, so I put it on Craigslist for $600, which was what a couple of other people had listed it for.

I got a few offers starting at $300, but I just waited it out until some guy offered $480, and I took that. He drove like 50 miles and we met at Starbucks, and he went on and on about how much his son liked it... he said he couldn't really taste the difference between it and other bourbons, but he blamed that on his palate, not on the Pappy. He also looked at the seal really carefully and said he'd had people try to sell him re-sealed bottles.

That kind of demand, there's no way people aren't going to try to take advantage.
posted by Huck500 at 7:46 AM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

A friend of mine with some Kentucky connections got a bottle of Pappy 20 as a wedding present, and I had a glass of it. I obviously can't speak with certainty to the authenticity or provenance, but it at least fit the tasting notes for Pappy.

It was, as you would expect, certainly very excellent bourbon. I would not feel cheated if I paid $150 for a bottle of it, but thousands of dollars is just nuts - at that point obviously most of the demand is just driven by it being a Veblen good.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 8:17 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

As is probably stated in TFA, Pappys is made by distillers who make a lot of Bourbon. The price of Pappys is based almost totally on marketing, branding, and hype.
posted by Windopaene at 8:44 AM on May 15, 2015

I would not feel cheated if I paid $150 for a bottle of it, but thousands of dollars is just nuts - at that point obviously most of the demand is just driven by it being a Veblen good.

This. I mean a glass of Pappy 23 is far and away the best bourbon I have ever tasted (in a long and storied bourbon-drinking career). I didn't know what it was at the time, a friend surprised me and only disclosed it after I said "Jesus Christ, what is this? I want to bathe in this!" I'd happily plunk down a couple hundred for it. But at this point it's all just really amusing to watch.

I may be more amused than others bc I am a regular at a bar that has a stash they dip into from time to time. Without said stash I might be a little bitter...
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:45 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

You can draw a pretty strong parallel between Pappy in the whiskey world and Westvleteren 12 in the beer world. Both are very good drinks that have been hyped to the point of absurdity (with price inflation to match) by the creation of a false scarcity coinciding with general hipness of the product category. In both cases significantly cheaper alternatives that are almost identical flavor-wise exist (St Bernardus abt 12 for Westy, and Weller - specifically this blend - for Pappy), which are popular among the in-the-know but remain cheap because the demand for the original has nothing to do with flavor and everything to do with cachet.

Hell, both have inspired criminal activity - grey-market importing of Westy 12 isn't nearly as overtly criminal as Pappy theft, but is is an illegal attempt to profit off of the drink's popularity.
posted by Itaxpica at 10:15 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

So bourbon is entering the scotch whiskey territory?
Good (I guess) I spend enough on the latter that consumers of the former should pony up as well :)
posted by twidget at 12:30 PM on May 15, 2015

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