There are certain tipples that make otherwise sane people go a little bit crazy. A few years ago, some maniac actually began carrying out the early stages of a plan to poison what are arguably the greatest Pinot Noir vines in the world, in the Romanee-Conti vineyard in France’s Burgundy region. Then there’s the story of the disgruntled ex-employee who destroyed a heartbreaking amount of legendary Brunello di Montalcino wine at Soldera. Add to that list the theft last October of tens of thousands of dollars of Pappy Van Winkle, a bourbon whose fans clamor for it with a passion verging on the obsessive.
But all hope isn’t lost. In fact, for Philly’s Pappy posse, this month was little short of epic. Percy Street Barbecue on South Street, always a standout for getting your BBQ and bourbon fill, offered tastes of Pappy Van Winkle recently at prices that the non-hedge-fund-gazillionaires among us could have afforded:
Pappy 10-Year Bourbon: $7 for 1 oz., $12 for 2 oz.
Pappy 12-Year Bourbon: $9 for 1 oz., $17 for 2 oz.
Pappy 15-Year Bourbon: $10 for 1 oz, $19 for 2 oz.
Pappy 20-Year Bourbon: $14 for 1 oz., $27 for 2 oz.
Pappy 23-Year Bourbon: $26 for 1 oz., $52 for 2 oz.
Pappy 13-Year Rye: $11 for 1 oz., $22 for 2 oz.
Too often, the greatest examples of whatever category of beverage you tend to enjoy most remain frustratingly out of reach. This event, then—which was such a hit that nearly all of the bourbon was gone before you could say “make mine a double”—was a phenomenal opportunity for all of us whiskey lovers out here to finally wrap our minds around what the big deal about Pappy really is. It’s not the sort of event that happens often, but the response is proof that there’s a demand for more of them, and that the team at Percy Street is genius for having done something like this. With luck, there will be more opportunities in Philly like this one, either here or elsewhere, in days to come.
Year of Beer: Weißenoher Monk’s Fest