Review: Poor Man’s Pappy

When I started up this site a couple of months ago home vatting was near the top of the list of things to experiment with and write about.  Well, I have done a terrible job so far of following through on it, but that’s ok, because there are awesome people out there like the nice folks over at Axis of Whisky who decide to do things like drawings for free samples of the blends they have been playing with.  Poor Man’s Pappy is a no-brainer when it comes to home vatting.  If you have access to Old Weller Antique 107 and W.L. Weller 12 Year, then mix them babies up and you (supposedly) get something that resembles Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year.  Different people use different ratios, but 60/40 favoring the 12 year is an incredibly popular blend, and that’s what this is.

In a perfect world I would be sitting here with a glass each of the PMP, OWA 107, WLW 12, and Pappy 15 so I could compare and contrast the differences (not to mention make my own PMP) and truly see how close this blend comes to the real thing, but unfortunately some of that stuff is ridiculous to find these days (especially here). So I’m here with the PMP and a glass of OWA 107, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Let’s get into it.

Company: Sazerac (both components)

Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery (both components)

Location: Frankfort, Kentucky (both components)

Mashbill: Unknown (Wheated)

Age: Approximately 10 years (using OWA 107’s rumored 7 years in the calculation)

ABV: 48.4% (96.8 proof)

Released: N/A (vatted by Axis of Whiskey on 5.2.15)

Price: N/A

Color: Light Amber

Nose: The nose has a very nutty aroma to it, specifically peanuts. Behind the peanut is a nice green apple fruitiness, caramel, and oak. I’ve always thought OWA 107 smells like caramel apples, and that is in here, but balanced out in a nice way by the age of the WLW 12 year. The nuttiness is a bit overpowering though.

Taste: The nuttiness transfers to the palate, but is better balanced than on the nose. The taste is lighter and sweeter than I would have expected with that WLW 12 year mixed in, but flavors are in nice harmony. Like the nose, green apple, caramel, oak, and peanuts are most present but with some additional subtle notes of honey and dried fruit. The mixture does a nice job dialing down the intensity from the OWA 107 and drying out the sweetness with the oak from the WLW 12.

Finish: Smooth and sweet, the balance starts to fall a part again here and the peanut thing comes back early in a big way, then the oak takes over and after a medium long finish only dry oak remains. Not bad by any means, but not great either.

Overall: Again, I wish I could state here how close this blend is to Pappy 15, but I can’t. What I can say is that if I had access to the required bottles, I would have a decanter of this in my whiskey cabinet for a nice, smooth, easy to drink option when I just want something fun and approachable to sip on. From what I remember from my last encounter with Pappy 15, it was more rich and complex than the PMP, but still had those nutty and fruity characters, so it may be true that this stuff isn’t far off.

A huge thanks goes out to Axis of Whisky for drawing my name and sending me a sample of this. It was fun to drink, and fun to write up. Once I finally get around to making a cool blend of something awesome rest assured that you’ll get a taste.

Rating: 3/5


4 thoughts on “Review: Poor Man’s Pappy

  1. Great review/write-up on Poor Man’s Pappy! I had a similar experience with it. It’s really nothing like Pappy Van Winkle, but it was a fun experiment, and I was glad to get to try it. Whatever it tastes like, it’s an interesting and enjoyable dram.

    If you’re interested in comparing notes, my thoughts on it are here:


  2. You got the ratios wrong. Its 60% OWA107 and 40% W12.
    I guess its good to now what it would taste like if you reversed the ratios.
    Please try again.

    1. First of all, there is no “right” answer to the ratio. As I CLEARLY state in the post “Different people use different ratios, but 60/40 favoring the 12 year is an incredibly popular blend, and that’s what this is.” Bourbonr even uses a 68% W12/27% OWA/5% Water blend for his Poor Man’s Pappy. If you simply wanted to voice that you prefer the 60% OWA/40% W12 blend to the one I wrote about, then that would be a great comment to make, instead you decided to act like a little prick. Please try again…prick.

      Also, the word is spelled “know”.

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