Poor Mans Pappy

Pappy Van Winkle Alternative

We have already covered the popularity of Pappy Van Winkle on this blog. However, if you’re not familiar with it Pappy Van Winkle if one of the most sought after and hard to find Bourbons around. Most stores have waiting lists a mile long for one bottle and Pappy Van winkle bottles are selling for 10X the retail price on the secondary market. What if you want to drink Pappy without camping outside a liquor store or spending $1,000 for a bottle? I have a solution. No, I don’t have some secret way of getting a bottle and I don’t have any Pappy Van Winkle for sale. I just choose to drink a Pappy Van Winkle alternative which I call “Poor Man’s Pappy”.

The Old Rip Van Winkle Brand was set out on its own in 1972 after the sale of the Stitzel-Weller distillery. Pappy Van Winkle was originally distilled by the famed Stizel-Weller. Pappy Van Winkle is a wheated bourbon. Meaning they substitute the small portion of rye that is usually added to bourbon for wheat. This give the bourbon a more mellow flavor with the absence of the spice that rye lends to bourbon. In 2002 ORVW connected with Buffalo Trace for a joint venture with the Pappy Van Winkle brand. Buffalo Trace had already purchased W.L. Weller brand in 1999 so the deal made sense.

Why does any of this matter? Because what makes Pappy so unique is that it is wheated Bourbon. When they teamed up with Buffalo Trace they began using BT’s wheated mash bill, the same wheated mash bill used for the W.L. Weller Bourbons. Only the Pappy Van Winkle 23 year is still Stitzel-Weller juice. The rest was distilled and aged by Buffalo Trace. While you can’t replicate Pappy exactly you can come close. This blend originated on the Straight Bourbon forum years ago as an alternative to Weller Centennial.

By mixing Old Weller Antique and WL Weller 12 you can create an excellent substitute for Van Winkle Lot B or Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year. Before you cry heresy let me explain.

Poor mans pappy

The Process:

Pick up a bottle of both W.L. Weller 12 (90 proof) and Old Weller Antique 107 (107 proof). They will cost around $20-$30 each. Start off with a 50:50 mixture of the two Bourbons. The easiest way to do this is with a digital scale. If you don’t have a scale just add a tablespoon from both Bourbons to your glass. With a 50:50 ratio you have a 98.5 proof delicious Bourbon.

Next, try a different ratio. Try mixing 60:40 Antique to 12. The Bourbon blend is now 100.2 proof and much closer in taste to the 107 proof Pappy 15. Some suggest that it is best to let it sit for several weeks before you drink. It does taste better after mingling for a few weeks but it still taste great right after it has been mixed.

I keep this mixture in my decanter at home as a daily drinker.

Additional Experiment from User j-mt

When I left college, I left with a love of bourbon and a minor in pharmacy (I was originally intending to go back to pharmacy school). When I read about the 60/40 OWA and WL 12 blend, I jumped in. In fact, it was my original intention. It’s a great blend, but it still packs a little more heat than I like at 60/40. So, I decided to take my knowledge of pharmacy (specifically alligations), to blend up a 90 proof, 10 year old (in theory) bourbon from the Weller group.

Here are the ingredients:

  • WL Weller 12 year old (12 YO; 90 Proof)
  • Old Weller Antique (7 YO; 107 Proof)
  • Bottled Spring Water (from a Limestone source)
  • Glass Container (mine is a 500mL flask from The Container Store ~$5)
  • Measuring Cup
  • 10mL Oral Syringe

The mixture is:

  • 68% WL Weller 12
  • 27% Old Weller Antique
  • 5% Spring Water

When calculated out, the % mixture yields 90 proof and 10 years old (rounded to a few decimal places).

I used Trader Joe’s brand Spring Water which is bottled here in TN from a limestone spring. If you could find water closer to the distillery in KY, that would be ideal. This water is similar to that used in Jack Daniels, however.

As for flavor notes:

A little water typically brings out both the WLW 12 and OWA, but it’s easy to saturate it. The amount used in this mixture is enough to soften it, but still isn’t enough to bring it right where I want it. Ice helps, but it’s become better for a 1oz pour instead of my usual 3oz (to keep it from becoming saturated).

On the front end, it leans more towards a smooth vanilla, almond start. The floral notes of the OWA are fairly muted, but it does make it a little sweeter than WLW 12 would be on its own. It’s essentially as if the floral/fruit of the OWA swaps places with the Vanilla/Almond undertones.

The cinnamon back end of OWA is my least favorite part because coupled with the heat from the proof, it creates a kick that I don’t enjoy. I found the cinnamon more enjoyable with the 60/40 blend, and here it’s a little more downplayed in favor of a smooth finish. It’s still present, but it’s very subtle.

All in all, it’s enjoyable. Versus the 60/40, it’s more on the smooth and creamy end with a little more wheated sweetness. The heat is brought down another notch with the spring water. I don’t like high proof bourbon neat and this blend improves upon the 60/40 to make the neat experience more enjoyable.

While the science behind creating it is a little more than I anticipated (measuring out to the mL), it’s definitely unique enough to give it a shot over the 60/40. You may have to buy a 10mL syringe to get it perfect. It’s just different enough to distinguish it and as with the 60/40, I can almost guarantee your friends will have never had anything similar. It will be fun to sample with them (including my future brother-in-law that works for Beam).

89 comments

    eLone, the best way is either with a scale or one of these. Unless you’re doing a large batch 68% of one glass worth may be tough. Good luck! Let me know how it goes

    well for 100 ml that would be 68ml for a liter that would be 680ml for a 10ml sample it would be 6.8ml . hope that helps

    A quick question strictly for clarification. Above it states the following: “Next, try a different ratio. Try mixing 60:40 Antique to 12.” Looks pretty straightforward, 60% Antique, 4% 12 year. Then, the additional recipe refers to: “When I read about the 60/40 WLW 12 and OWA blend” inferring the 60% was the 12 year, and the 40 was the Antique, which is the opposite of the mix written above.

    The first one is correct, right? The second mention was just phrased wrong?

    Thank you

    Hi Bruce,

    The first one is correct. It is 60/40 Antique/12. I will edit to clarify. Let me know what you think after you’ve tried it.
    Thanks,

    Blake

    What do you think about trying this in a charred or non-charred personal sized whiskey aging barrel I see for sale these days.

    A few weeks ago I tried the various Weller mixes with the eminent Dr. Booze, and I really enjoyed j-mt’s “Pharmacist’s Pappy” concoction. While I was mixing up a batch of the stuff for my home decanter, it occurred to me that it would be nice to know how to make the “Pharmacist’s Pappy” without having to measure in milliliters (concessions to those reading this in countries other than America). I did some calculations, and the following methods should suffice. The measurements don’t work out to be exactly right, but they’re good enough for Government work.

    First, the large scale mix, which makes a bit over a liter. In addition to the bottles of WL Weller 12, Old Weller Antique, and spring water, you’ll need a 2-cup measuring cup, a tablespoon, and a container that holds at least 1 ¼ liters (or 1 ¼ quarts). First, pour the entire 750 mL bottle of WL Weller 12 into the large container. Then, into the measuring cup, add a scant 4 tbsp of water (The more precise amount would be 3 ¾ tbsp of water, but that’s more difficult to gauge with standard kitchen measures.) With the Old Weller Antique, fill the measuring cup up to the 1 ½ cup line, then pour this into the container as well. Mix, and you’re all set.

    For an individual 1 ½ oz pour, you’ll need a 1 ½ oz shot glass. Measure out 1 oz of the WL Weller 12. Then add ½ tsp of water. With the Old Weller Antique, fill the shot glass to the 1 ½ oz line.

    Hopefully my math holds up to scrutiny. Enjoy!

    seems like your formula is opposite what the original article formulates…that is 60/40 antique to 12 year whereas your formula is heavier on the 12 year and lighter on the antique; am i misreading these articles?
    thanks

    I was talking specifically about the “Additional Experiment from User j-mt” below the original article, for which the mixture is:

    68% WL Weller 12
    27% Old Weller Antique
    5% Spring Water

    I have a buffalo trace unused charred barrel I plan on trying this mixture in. However, I was to try to achieve about 95 proof which Pappy 23 year is. I will leave it in this barrel to further age a year which should equate to another 8-10 years since it is a small barrel. I was wondering what the best mixture to achieve this would be and also if the alcohol would lower after aging in the barrel? Also, should I let the mixture sit for two weeks in a container before I put it in the barrel?

    Hi Brien,

    Sounds like a great pproject! I’d mix it and put it directly in the barrel. I’d also probably use a 50/50 mixture which will bring you closer to the 95 proof. Temperature swings and other conditions will ultimately decide how much the proof changes during aging.

    Also, the smaller barrel will add oak flavor at a much faster rate but won’t develop some of the deep flavors you find in a Pappy 23. Either way I’m sure it will be interesting and I look forward to hearing how it goes.

    Thanks, Blake. I ended up doing 55% weller 12, 40% OWA and 5% of that fine Tennessee water filtered. This puts me right at 45%. Figured it would open it all up a bit. The barrel has water soaking in it until Saturday to cure it and prep it per the directions. I’ll put it all in the barrel then and prob give it a little taste ever month or two to see how it’s progressing. I’ll keep you posted.

    I would use all OWA 107 and mix afterward. Lower-proof alcohols tend to taste like wood-soaked water when they come out of a barrel. You need as high of an alcohol content as possible to break down the char. The higher the better, or you’ll be limited in the flavors you’re able pick up. I did a similar experiment with rum. The 80-proof El Dorado White was disgusting and tasted like a stick. The 151-proof Eldorado White was excellent, and a night-and-day difference once reduced down to 90-proof (I didn’t want to go all the way down to 80).

    I remember being at Makers Mark and they mentioned that they had tested aging in smaller (maybe 10 gallon) barrels; they found the juice to be “undrinkable”.

    I can’t find the Wellers 12 anywhere in my area (Charlotte NC) seeing as how I have not been able to find the Wellers 12. If I sub the Special reserve instead what would be the main difference? How much different in taste are the 12 and the SR they are both 90 proof?

    None. I mixed antique with 90 proof O.L. Weller Special Reserve and it works great. I found that it’s better if the mixture has time to blend for a few days before drinking. Bottoms Up!

    Erik,
    The difficulty you are having locating the Weller 12 may come from the fact that it is limited and has been allocated for years now. It is also only bottled in 1-2 batches a year. This is the info I received from the BT Consumer Affairs Dept. So, that means that towards the end of the cycle, bottles become increasingly difficult to find. They were easily found here in FL until this past month when stocks just seemed to vanish.

    I have tried the 60/40 split and let it sit for 2 weeks. Great! I have had pappy 20-15-12, I must say that poor mans pappy (sitting 2 weeks after mixture) is very similar to 15 yr pappy! (I have gone through 3 pappy 15’s). Terrific! must try!!!

    I have a bottle of the 12yr I got last year and drink half of it . I’m hanging on to it until a special occasion. All I can find now is the special reserve and it just doesn’t taste the same at all to me .

    I ordered and paid with bitcoins. It has been over a month and have not received the order. The company does not reply to emails. No telephone number listed to call. Don’t be fooled like me – the site appears to be a total scam. The Bitcoin Alcohol Market is a scam.

    I have not received my order. Ordered on 9/30/2015. They won’t reply to email inquiries. It’s a scam. Spread the word – the Bitcoin Alcohol Market website is a scam.

    Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

    customerservice@bitcoinalcohol.market

    Technical details of permanent failure:
    Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain bitcoinalcohol.market by mail.bitcoinalcohol.market. [68.65.122.167].

    The error that the other server returned was:
    550 No Such User Here”

    Also Bob can you send me your personal email so I have it in case I do not receive my item. I am going to take this all the way and prove a history of fraud to have the site taken down

    Some additional info for you , they updated there phone number on Facebook after I made a request (+33 7 58 47 01 40)

    The registrants name is Aloin Arnoux the man the responded to my email was Alfred Rivard, I imagine if this site is truly a scam that these names might be as well but the payment method for the hosting domain will be traceable, I am also working on trying to see if I can trace the bitcoin wallet we sent to. Now with bitcoin ATM’s they might have simply taken out the cash but maybe not or maybe we can get a picture off the ATM or store but this is a long shot. I hate scam artist and if this is a scam I will devote my full time, talent and money to try and prosecute these people.

    Domain Name: bitcoinalcohol.market
    Domain ID: e1d6d73139544d8fa5c1d8b9c1d5b2be-RSIDE
    WHOIS Server: whois.enom.com
    Referral URL: http://enom.com
    Updated Date: 2015-11-02T18:08:25Z
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    Registry Expiry Date: 2016-01-14T08:35:00Z
    Sponsoring Registrar: ENom Inc.
    Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 48
    Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited https://www.icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
    Registrant ID: 04f737239df88696
    Registrant Name: Aloin Arnoux
    Registrant Organization: Online Bitcoin Alcohol Market
    Registrant Street: Rue de Vintimille
    Registrant City: Paris
    Registrant State/Province: PARIS
    Registrant Postal Code: 75018
    Registrant Country: FR
    Registrant Phone: +33.142594302
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    Admin ID: 04f737239df88696
    Admin Name: Aloin Arnoux
    Admin Organization: Online Bitcoin Alcohol Market
    Admin Street: Rue de Vintimille
    Admin City: Paris
    Admin State/Province: PARIS
    Admin Postal Code: 75018
    Admin Country: FR
    Admin Phone: +33.142594302
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    Tech ID: 04f737239df88696
    Tech Name: Aloin Arnoux
    Tech Organization: Online Bitcoin Alcohol Market
    Tech Street: Rue de Vintimille
    Tech City: Paris
    Tech State/Province: PARIS
    Tech Postal Code: 75018
    Tech Country: FR
    Tech Phone: +33.142594302
    Tech Phone Ext:
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    Tech Email: admin@bitcoinalcohol.market
    Name Server: ns2.bitcoinalcohol.market
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    DNSSEC: unsigned
    >>> Last update of WHOIS database: 2015-11-17T01:01:52Z <<<

    Bob
    BITCOIN ALCOHOL MARKET is a FRAUD!!!!
    Save your money people and do not buy anything from them. They advertise that “we put our customers first.” But this is a FRAUD!! I am still waiting for two orders and the refuse to respond or give their telephone number. Stay away from this FRAUD.
    Thanks
    Jim

    I sent an email to the new customer service email address you provided – I’ll post if a get a reply. I also have sent many emails to the admin email address and have never received a reply. Still have not received order or a refund.

    Yes I have received a couple reply’s, they said that they are checking with the post office and that it is rare for delivery to take this long. In their last response they offered me a refund, I said I would give it a couple more days but then I would like a refund, I provided them my bitcoin wallet address but have not heard anything back.

    I am not going to let this go I will track them to the ends of the earth until I get a refund or my items

    I actually received an email from the company today with the understanding that I would submit my payment again if I ever receive my bottle. Let’s just say I am not holding my breath on ever getting the bottle. Have you gotten any response from them?

    Guys
    I am having the same problem with them, but they’ve never responded to me.
    I’m ready to go to Paris to sue them
    I would like to speak with you both, how can I get in touch?
    Thanks
    Jim

    All of my correspondence with them came from the email cs@bitcoinalcohol.market, but every time I sent them an email I also went to their site and sent the same message through the contact us page. The emails always seemed professional but they would never answer any of my questions like can I have your address in Paris and a phone number. After I laid out in an email how I was going to destroy them they asked for a bitcoin wallet address so they could issue me a refund. They actually refunded me the full USD value of my purchase which was more coins than I originally paid. If I was you I would take screen shots of your account and the purchase on their site, I also would do the same on the site you sent your payment through so at minimum you have proof that you completed a transaction. I actually am in contact with a couple people on Facebook that are in the same boat of ordering and cannot get them to respond. This makes about 10+ people I have found that have not received there items. Something needs to be done if in fact this site is truly scamming people.

    I think I might have been stung by them too. If you got a refund would you mind reaching out or sharing some details so I might try the same?

    I am hearing mixed reviews about the BTC alcohol market. I live in France got a bottle & cigar shipped earlier this month but then I hear others post about no customer service. Just starting to wonder if it is one or two individuals going around slandering them to steal all the bourbon!

    Leo, I assure you that what I have said is true and I have the contact info of 6 people that have had the same experience, I am pretty sure that if I wanted all the bourbon I would simply mine or buy 100 bitcoins and clean this company out. The fact is you are one of only two people that I have heard with a positive experience. I did end up getting a refund so I would consider my experience sufficiently handled but, I would have rather had my pappy.

    Leo:

    I too assure you they stole my money and sent me nothing.
    Go ahead and double down and you will find out the hard way.
    Jim

    All of my correspondence with them came from the email cs@bitcoinalcohol.market, but every time I sent them an email I also went to their site and sent the same message through the contact us page. The emails always seemed professional but they would never answer any of my questions like can I have your address in Paris and a phone number. After I laid out in an email how I was going to destroy them they asked for a bitcoin wallet address so they could issue me a refund. They actually refunded me the full USD value of my purchase which was more coins than I originally paid. If I was you I would take screen shots of your account and the purchase on their site, I also would do the same on the site you sent your payment through so at minimum you have proof that you completed a transaction. I actually am in contact with a couple people on Facebook that are in the same boat of ordering and cannot get them to respond. This makes about 10+ people I have found that have not received there items. Something needs to be done if in fact this site is truly scamming people.

    Jim, you can send me an email at knoedler84@gmail.com this is not my main email so please forgive if i do not see it immediately. I will respond with my main email but the name will be noticeable. Just don’t want a spam bot to get my email and flood my main inbox.

    Hey Joe. Fell into the same scam with the F-ing Bitcoin market. If you don’t mind, I sent you an email as well. Any advice on how you went about getting a refund would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    Panos

    I also got scammed from Bitcoin Alcohol Market. They have returned zero responses to my emails. I’m going to try emailing them today asking for a refund.

    I’m another one who’s been caught by these scammers (2 orders placed but nothing arrived), absolute low-life scum they are! I’ve sent emails via their website but got no reply.

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I may never get my money back but I can at least screw with them by placing bogus orders. Check out the customer name and address I used. Let’s shut this site down!
    MY ACCOUNT
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    on December 5, 2015 Reply

    Hi Blake,

    Now that it’s been a couple of years since your original Poor Man’s Pappy whirlwind, is your decanter still at 60% OWA / 40% WLW 12 or have you adjusted.

    While the j-mt blend above is interesting, the fact that the Weller line isn’t available here in Ohio makes experimenting a bit daunting due to my limited supply.

    Have recently picked up some private bottlings of Larceny and Bernheim, which have been been surprisingly good wheat options as well.

    Love the blog… in Bourbonr We Trust!

    I got a reply and they said they could not find my order number. I sent to them and haven’t heard back. I also cannot access their website. I suspect they have blocked my home IP address as I can connect when I’m not at home. It’s definitely a scam.

    Hey Jim and Bob,
    I am in the same boat as you. I purchased a bottle from bitcoin alcohol market over a month ago and have still not received any response. I hope you receive all your money back. I am not holding my breath on mine. Thanks for the info. I have tried contacting their Facebook and website. I even contacted some of the people that posted reviews to no avail.

    Guys, I am in the same boat as you all. Feel free to contact me at pwrtrp1987@yahoo.com. They must have blocked my IP address as well this morning as the site now says scheduled maintenance. That being said, I connected to another computer at a different location and imagine this, the site came right up. I have screen shots of EVERYTHING.

    I’m in the same boat- anyone who can help get a refund would be greatly appreciated. I’m planning on filing a report with FBI Cyber Crime division – has anyone already done so?

    I may never get my money back but I can at least screw with them by placing bogus orders. Check out the customer name and address I used. Let’s shut this site down!

    MY ACCOUNT
    Hello, Fuck. From your account dashboard you can view your recent orders, manage your shipping and billing addresses and change your password.

    Recent Orders

    Order Date Status Total
    #6571 05/12/2015 on-hold $42,244.97 for 174 items View
    #6569 05/12/2015 on-hold $476.88 for 2 items View
    #6567 05/12/2015 on-hold $476.88 for 2 items View
    #6566 05/12/2015 on-hold $374.94 for 1 item View
    #6565 05/12/2015 on-hold $13,799.59 for 20 items View
    #6564 05/12/2015 on-hold $238.44 for 1 item View
    #6563 05/12/2015 on-hold $469.44 for 1 item View
    #6562 05/12/2015 on-hold $2,739.23 for 9 items View
    #6561 05/12/2015 on-hold $374.94 for 1 item View
    #6560 05/12/2015 on-hold $343.44 for 1 item View
    #6559 05/12/2015 on-hold $689.98 for 1 item View
    #6558 05/12/2015 on-hold $138.69 for 1 item View
    #6557 05/12/2015 on-hold $238.44 for 1 item View
    #6556 05/12/2015 on-hold $469.44 for 1 item View
    My Addresses
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    Billing AddressEdit
    Aloin Arnoux is a THIEF
    Aloin is an ASSHOLE Arnoux is a COCK
    Aloin Arnoux Sucks Balls Drive
    Gutless Chickenshit
    75018 PARIS
    France
    Shipping AddressEdit
    Aloin Arnoux is a THIEF
    Aloin is an ASSHOLE Arnoux is a COCK
    Aloin Arnoux Sucks Balls Drive
    Gutless Chickenshit
    75018 PARIS
    France

    I got scammed as well, placed an order for Pappy 23 on Dec. 4, paid for expidited DHL shipping, never received a tracking number, my bottle or any response to my inquiries. Within 3 days they deleted my profile and order history, my user name was not recognized. Any advice on getting a refund would be greatly appreciated.

    Anyone who takes bitcoins as traceable money deserves to have their money stolen. Would you buy magic beans as alternative currency? Come on people, use a credit card.. or even paypal. But bitcoins are just silly.

    You are old and clueless. Bitcoin is the future. I have pappy for sale. Send me some bitcoins old timer and I’ll send you a bottle.

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