budrichard wrote:But the agreement at the best could only have 10 year old or maybe 12 for sale. The 15 and 21 year old currently offered would have had to come from original stocks.
That's not a logical conclusion. Van Winkle production did not just change one day from Stitzel-Weller to Buffalo Trace (for example, there was some intervening production at Bernheim), so understanding what "original stocks" means in this context is complicated.
What is known almost universally in the bourbon community these days is that the 15 year is no longer a Stitzel-Weller produced product. Julian himself said that starting with the Fall 2011 release, the 15 year is a Buffalo Trace produced whiskey. Prior to that, he's been quoted as saying it was for at least some time a mixture of SW and BT product.
Now, as the ink isn't 15 years old on the agreement between Van Winkle & Buffalo Trace, the correct conclusion to draw is that Julian has done an amazing job of selecting barrels to fill his bottles that were produced by Buffalo Trace prior to their agreement. I'm sure they gave him the run of the rickhouses given the high profile of the Van Winkle 15, and that they were producing a recipe that was close enough to the Pappy recipes to find some extremely comparable product. But, it's still a testament to his palate that there are so many confused as to whether the stuff in the bottle was made at SW or BT.
Personally, if I'm in the market for a teenaged (or nearly), wheated whiskey, I'm buying William Larue Weller. Cheaper and higher proof than Pappy, and tastier (imo) to boot...