Two pours of Pappy Van Winkle’s for $25? Smith is opening those and much more Monday, for great prices. Start lining up now.
For those who want to sample Pappy Van Winkle’s, the world’s most sought-after whiskey, but don’t have a deep pocketbook, your chance comes Monday, Feb. 29.
For $25, at Capitol Hill’s Smith, you can get two pours, one ounce each of the Pappy 10-year and 12-year bourbons. The latter, the most underrated of the cult Pappy lineup, can cost $40 to $60 for an ounce alone.
In the past five years, the frenzy over Pappy whiskeys has gotten so out of control — collectors pay more than $3,000 on the secondary market for a Pappy 23-year bourbon — that many whiskey fans are lashing out against the price gouging and hype.
Count Myles Burroughs, beverage director for Smith and other Linda Derschang bars, among those who believe a little perspective is in order.
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“It’s good juice, but it’s not the be-all and end-all,” Burroughs said. “There’s diminishing return when it’s so sought after and priced the way it’s priced. There are a hundred other whiskeys I could enjoy before spending $60 on a Pappy.”
Most apartment dwellers who live near the neighborhood bar Smith and support the business can’t afford Pappy the way it’s priced now, Burroughs said.
Burroughs will make the Pappy bottles available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 4 p.m. Monday.
The bar will also open its collection of other highly sought bottles that day. It’s a chance for casual drinkers and curious observers to taste some of the hot and rare whiskeys that collectors are chasing after. Many are priced around $25-$35, not as good a deal as the two-shot Pappy special but still lower than what many other bars on the Hill charge.
Among the things to check out at Smith:
• Japanese whiskey, it’s the hottest spirit now. Smith will open its rare Ichiro’s Malt Quarter Cask Strength (a bottle costs around $1,500) and will also have the Hibiki 12-year and the 17-year malt whiskey. The Hibiki 12-year is hard to find in the states now.
• From its American selections, Smith will likely have an older expression of the Willett bourbon mailed in for Monday’s event. It also has the Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye from the Antique Collection and two bottles of the Elijah Craig 18-year Single Barrel Bourbon, which had been out of stock for three years.
• For whiskey beginners, a good starting point is High West’s Midwinter Night’s Dram, a rye that has a sweet, dry fruit finish with some vanilla undertones to balance the spiciness, making it more palatable for the mainstream.
• For something unusual that the cool kids are chasing, check out the Spanish Malt Whiskeys from Navazos Palazzi or a scotch-style whiskey (Sullivans Cove) from Tasmania, Australia.
Smith, 332 15th Ave. E., Seattle, will open the rare bottles Monday, Feb. 29, at 4 p.m. (206-709-1900 or smithseattle.com)