Bourbon fans have a rare chance to create an instant collection of five of the world’s most coveted bottles of Van Winkle bourbons. If you missed out winning the Julian Van Winkle III-autographed 25 Year Old Rip Van Winkle barrel head that was auctioned off last week (and which fetched a winning bid of $20,025 for the Lee Initiative Restaurant Workers Relief Program charity), here’s your chance to jump back into the ring and acquire these five Van Winkle whiskeys with one click of your mouse: Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Old, Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year Old, Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year Old, Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year Old and Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old.
All five bottles have been autographed by Julian Van Winkle III, grandson of Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr., making them the rarest Van Winkle bottles available. Although valued at $795 on the auction website, in “real life” prices, these bottles are worth many times more, with a single bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year Old, for example, fetching an average price of $1,400.
This five-bottle collection was generously donated by the Van Winkle family and, as with the barrel head auction, 100 percent of the auction proceeds will go to the Lee Initiative Restaurant Workers Relief Program, which was started by James Beard award winner chef Edward Lee, creator of Louisville’s 601 Magnolia, Milkwood and Whiskey Dry restaurants. The Lee Initiative operates in 19 cities, where specific restaurants are designated as relief kitchens. Out-of-work or furloughed restaurant workers are given food, supplies and support through this organization, which also prepares hundreds of to-go meals for the needy. To date, more than 140,000 meals have been served.
“The Covid-19 crisis has been horrible for everyone, and as a family, we wanted to find a way to support restaurant workers who are the backbone of our industry,” says Julian Van Winkle III. “We hope that auctioning these bottles will help the Lee Initiative continue this program as long as they need.”
The online auction, currently underway, will end on Sunday, May 10 at 8 pm EDT. As of writing, the bidding has risen to $17,500 for a Van Winkle bourbon collection that is probably priceless to some. Bids are accepted in $100 increments. To enter your bid in go here. You may soon be toasting to the health of needy restaurant workers and better times for all.