Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Lot B
Added on Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 10:12 PM
  Bottler: Buffalo Trace
  Age: 12 yrs Type: American
  Vintage: N/A Subtype: Bourbon
  ABV: 45.20 % Region: Kentucky
  Price: $45 Availability: Better Stores
Member Ratings and Notes
2015 bottling: Floral nose, but light and chemically and mostly... poor. Same odd chemically note pollutes the palate. Richly mediocre and drinkable, but... this is a no.  C

c. 2009: Nose is sharp, with good standard bourbon stuff -- vanilla, caramels, popcorn -- and cherries. Also some solvent/acetone, kinda acrid. Palate is rather oaky, lightly sweet, with pleasant spice, and somewhat in line with what the nose advertised. There's a notable alcohol/acetone component here that I actually somewhat enjoy... and somewhat don't. Oak influence is strong, leaving a somewhat tannic "chew" that I kinda like... and kinda don't. There is depth and richness, but everything here doesn't gel correctly for me. I like it fine enough, and would be happy to drink this in a random bar. C+/B-
Full bodied and forceful on the nose with  a wee bit of nail polish in the background.  The palate is thick and savory but a bit too much of an alcohol taste.  While there is some oak, it hasn't developed the chewiness of the 20 year old yet, but you can see it going in that direction. Late palate there is a bit of acid which closes it out.   It's a good Bourbon, but there's too much pure-alcohol taste in it. 

N: Black cherries and a solid dose of wood lead on the nose. Light corn presence, sweet maple syrup, gentle toffee.  A fair amount of caramel as well. Easy vanilla presence underneath it all. 


P: Nice viscosity, medium-thick. Caramel sweetness leads, a touch of slight corn sweetness (and a fainter hint of corn husk sourness) behind it. Good body, a little wood. Maple syrup and a touch of toffee.


F: Black cherries are first out of the gate; a nice enjoyable slight pepper heat, dries more towards the black cherry with some wood and a faint clay earthiness. A faint hint of black tea here and there.


Easy drinking in the extreme. Not overproofed, nice flavors, a real fun sipper.  

Had this on several times and was never too fond of it.  Lots of rye in this.  Spices and coconuts with mostly wood on the palate and a very short finish. 

n: Vanilla and wet polyeurethane


p:  No bourbony sweetness.  Makes me think of chemicals in a woodshop, in a bad way.  Very sappy.


Deep golden amber color. Tons of vanilla on the nose, along with powerful oak, medicine, butterscotch and subtle dried fruits. The nose is strong but pleasing. On the palate very balanced between oak and vanilla. Very creamy. I do wish it was richer though, as a feel it lacks something. 2008 bottling. B+ [11/5/13]


2013 VW Vertical Tasting: Subtle vanilla and thin nose. Some spice notes, but doesn't initially exhibit the sweeter notes I usually see here. After some time, they do start to come out. The palate is full of dried fruits, butterscotch, oak and is very creamy. Stepping back to the nose after about 20 minutes, a lot of butterscotch comes through there too. As for the 2013 releases, I would say this or the rye have my favorite palatte. B+ [1/26/14]


n: caramel popcorn ball, wet cardboard, and hint of cherry. Standard nose with some sweet corn bread.


t: pleasant with some caramel and high rye spice, but it is very light, with a soft body. Some bing cherry and vanilla caramel in the finish. I've had this many times and I am perplexed by the hype. 

Whiskey Master List
Whiskey Value and Selling Online FAQ
Contact Rare Liquor Collectors
Popular Articles