UPDATE: as one of our readers (Bearmark) helpfully pointed out, we were incorrect in suggesting that a case of liquor was always 12 bottles. As we’ve confirmed with Buffalo Trace, a “case” of Pappy’s is 3 bottles. That changes our math a bit (obviously); please see below for the correction.
More importantly, it appears that the authorities are still on the case! WDRB (Tamara Evans) reports that after naming local Bardstown high school principal Chris Pickett as a person of interest (later cleared) they have warned the public that “The net is closing. It’s getting tighter. It’s hot. You’re not going to be able to take it and sell it anywhere.”
Maybe he’s just going to sit in his easy chair and drink it! This is more exciting than watching the Virginia ABC authorities on Discovery Channel’s Moonshiners.
One of the funniest stories is that Pappy Van Winkle—a wildly popular whiskey that we constantly get asked about regarding availability—actually experienced a theft and it was apparently an inside job. The report claims that 65 cases of the 20yr old were stolen for a cost of $26,000. That’s a really weird number because a case is 12 bottles. That means the “value” to Sazerac was $33.33 per bottle. But the bottle retails for around $150!!!!! So for the record, either the press greatly underreported the value (unlikely) or they inadvertently correctly quoted Sazerac estimating their value and the mark-up on those bottles is about 350%. We’ve verified that Pappy’s goes for 3 bottles a “case” meaning that a total of 195 bottles were stolen… valued at $133 per bottle. Unlike our earlier report, that seems about retail price to us with bottles going for around $150 - $200 on the retail market. But it does make one wonder: at about 13 drinks per bottle, that’s 2,535 drinks. With a committed bourbon drinker having about 10 drinks a week, say, that’s a little less than a 5 year supply of Pappy’s (if you don’t share or binge). Maybe the motive here wasn’t money but rather thirst and adoration?
The report also mentions that it’s the #1 rated bourbon in the world and notes their 99pt score from the Beverage Testing Institute. We can correct that: they were the #1 bourbon in the world but since that 99pt score—way back in 2008—their critical scores have moderated quite a bit. They’re now tied for the #20 bourbon in the world according to us. The top of our list includes Four Roses Single Barrel (thanks to solid strings of scores from everyone), Angels Envy (thanks to a huge score from Wine Enthusiast), Old Forest Signature 2011 vintage (two good scores from 2012), Parker’s Heritage Cognac Finish, and regular old Knob Creek.