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Bourbon of the Month: Jefferson’s Presidential Select 18 Year Bourbon
Mar 14/13

Bourbon of the Month: Jefferson’s Presidential Select 18 Year Bourbon Posted by: Aaron Stearns | 0 Comments

Pappy Van Winkle. Those three words mean a great deal to bourbon lovers. For those that have been asleep for 20 years, Pappy Van Winkle is a series of rare and longer aged wheated bourbons produced by the Old Rip Van Winkle (ORVW) Distillery. The company makes a 15 year, 20 year, and 23 year bourbon. Describing them as “hard to find” is an understatement. Rabid fans of the whiskey anxiously await the allocations to local liquor stores. Recently, the distillery has decided to make things worse (or better depending on how you look at it) by condensing the shipments to one larger allocation in the fall of 2013.

What makes Pappy Van Winkle so special? Well, for years the whiskeys were sourced from older barrels from the much lauded Stitzel-Weller (S-W) distillery, which ceased production in 1992. In order to produce the Pappy 15 year, the ORVW distillery went into partnership with Buffalo Trace. All of this is to say that the ORVW distillery doesn’t actually distill the whiskeys they produce. Their independent bottler model focuses on procuring the best longer aged wheated bourbons they can find within the respective partnerships or arrangements they have with other distilleries.

The absence of rye in wheated bourbon results in a finished whiskey that can come across a little flat on the palate in more youthful wheaters. However, something very interesting happens to wheated bourbon once it sits more than say 10-12 years in the barrel. The level of complexity ramps up tremendously, while still maintaining the soft drinkability that makes wheated bourbon so approachable. You may never get the opportunity to purchase a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon. However, you do have a very good chance at trying another product sourced from Stitzel-Weller…

Jefferson’s Presidential Select 18 Year small batch bourbon is a wheated bourbon bottled from Stitzel-Weller barrels. It’s the same wheated mashbill (grain recipe) used in the Pappy products. Is it up to the standard of Pappy Van Winkle products? In a word–yes. While certainly expensive, if you are a bourbon lover that’s never had the pleasure of trying a Pappy bourbon, Jefferson’s Presidential Select 18 Year may just be your closest bet.

Tasting Notes

  • Color: Deep Amber/Copper
  • Nose: Heady mix of rum soaked dried fruits (raisin, dates), pancake syrup, toasted almonds, caramelized banana, vanilla wafers, old leather, and oak.
  • Palate: Toffee, fig preserves, vanilla, and heaps of oak and resiny grip.
  • Finish: Toffee sweetness, rich fruit, and wood make for a marvelous ending.

Jefferson’s Presidential Select 18 Year Bourbon
47% abv (94 Proof), $80/bottle




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