Bourbon collecting has taken on the aura of a blood sport when it comes to rare bottles and limited releases. It doesn’t have to be that way. Educating yourself and knowing what to look for will save you time and trouble as you gather an assortment of these rare bourbons to add to your collection.
Pappy Van Winkle’s 23 Year Family Reserve
Considered by many to be the holy grail of bourbons (and priced accordingly), Pappy’s 23 Year Family Reserve is a superior blend displaying a rarely equaled mastery of barrel selection. If you’re able to find any, you’ll experience the big flavors of caramel and spice with oaky overtones. A big, bold bourbon, it is considered unrivaled among rare bottles.
Elijah Craig 23-Year-Old
In the lower levels of the Heaven Hill distillery, barrels age slowly and gently. Master distillers regularly sample to select barrels to become a member of the elite—the barrels that 23 years later will enter their bottles as Elijah Craig 23-Year-Old. They’ve been doing this long enough to make it an annual release, but as a single barrel bourbon, it’s rare every year.
Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 22-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Progressively aged barrels result in a serial release of Orphan Barrel. Starting with 20-year, the brand is now up to 25-year-old bourbon. The method resulted in instantly collectible bottles that form a collection of their own. The 22-year-old is bottled at a higher proof than the earlier years, and has rich flavors of dark chocolate and cherry.
Angel’s Envy Cask Strength
Finished in port wine barrels and bottled at 122.4 proof, the name suggests that angels would be impressed with a share of this rare bourbon. A very limited release selected from the best barrels, Angel’s Envy has been called “the best spirit in the world.” This rare bourbon sells out quickly with every release, so collectors must be quick to snag a bottle.
You can buy rare bourbon online and get email alerts when sold out bottles are back in stock at VS Liquor.