Each year at this time, a rare, top-rated bourbon called “Pappy” hits the market. But unless you’re a well-connected collector, retailer or bar owner, you’re unlikely to catch even a glimpse of the exotic amber elixir: Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve.
The 23-year-old bourbon (an almost unheard of vintage) has won top awards in all the major whiskey competitions. It’s made with corn and wheat as opposed to corn and rye, and the taste, they say, is heavenly. That is, if you can get a taste. Supplies are that tight. Equally rare are Pappy’s other bourbon vintages.
Downtown Houston bar Reserve 101 has somehow managed to acquire a small batch of Pappy—including the 23-year vintage—for customers seeking a special holiday treat. But it won’t last long. When it’s gone, it’s gone… until next year, when Pappy’s will be just as hard to find.
Reserve 101 is located downtown at the corner of Caroline and Dallas, next to Dirt Bar and across from House of Blues. Stop in and ask for owners Mike Raymond or Steve Long, and maybe—if you’re not naughty but nice—you might just be able to get your hands – and lips – on a shot of the elusive Pappy.
Downtown bar Reserve 101 presents three little-known single malts Cardhu, Clynelish and Caol Ila at a complimentary tasting of Classic Malts from Diageo, the world’s largest premium spirits business, on Tuesday, Nov. 29th, at 6:30 p.m. Space is limited; register at http://reserve101.com/whiskey-tastings-houston.
“These single malts may not be known to many Houstonians; our mission is to introduce discerning whiskey lovers to brands they may not have tried, and these excellent brands certainly fit the bill,” said Reserve 101 co-owner and whiskey expert Mike Raymond.
Cardhu is a Speyside distillery founded by whiskey smuggler John Cumming in 1824 in Scotland’s Speyside region. Cumming’s wife sold bottles of the single malt to passers by through their farmhouse window. It was rebuilt in 1885 on a new plot of land and production tripled. Much of the whiskey was sold to Johnnie Walker and Sons for blending. The distillery was sold to Johnnie Walker in 1893, but the Cumming family continued to operate it until World War II.
The Clynelish Distillery, located in the Highland village of Brora, Sutherland, was founded in 1872. The distillery has had a longstanding relationship with Johnnie Walker and Sons; much of its production is used in blending Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve. Clynelish single malt is aged 15 years.
Caol Ila is a peaty Islay single malt. The distillery was founded in 1846 on a site overlooking the strait between Islay and Jura. It was closed during World War II due to a shortage of barley, reopening in 1945. The distillery was demolished in 1972 and rebuilt; production resumed in 1974. In addition to being sold as single malt, Caol Ila whiskey is used in blending Johnnie Walker and Black Bottle Scotch. It has won numerous top awards in international spirits competitions.
Reserve 101, “not your daddy’s whiskey bar,” is located at the corner of Caroline and Dallas, next to Dirt Bar and across from House of Blues. It won the “People’s Choice” award for best bar atmosphere in this year’s Houston Press “Best of Houston” competition, has the finest whiskey selection in the Southwest, with 200 varieties of popular and small-batch, hard-to-find whiskeys from around the world, and is expanding its whiskey portfolio to 300 brands.
The downtown Houston bar will begin to offer evening food service this winter in an arrangement with Bernie’s Burger Bus owner Justin Turner. It has an events room ideally suited for holiday parties and other private gatherings. The neighborhood establishment is also known for its Signature Cocktails and infusions, organic material steeped in liquor to impart distinctive flavors.
“Happy Hour,” with dollar-off beers and wines and half-price signature cocktails runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday with specials just about every day of the week, including Sundays.
- RESERVE 101 COMPLIMENTARY TASTING OCT. 25: REBECCA CREEK WHISKEY FROM SAN ANTONIO
- FOUR CLASSIC SINGLE MALTS FROM DIAGEO: COMPLIMENTARY TASTING AT RESERVE 101 TUESDAY, OCT. 18
- HOP ON THE BUS! RESERVE 101 TO OFFER FOOD SERVICE FROM JUSTIN TURNER
- LAPHROAIG SINGLE MALT COMPLIMENTARY TASTING TUESDAY, OCT. 11, AT RESERVE 101