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Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last
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Penguin Publishing Group 2020
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An instant New York Times bestsellerFrom the bestselling author of The Cost of These DreamsThe story of how Julian Van Winkle III, the caretaker of the most coveted cult Kentucky Bourbon whiskey in the world, fought to protect his family's heritage and preserve the taste of his forebears, in a world where authenticity, like his product, is in very short supply.As a journalist said of Pappy Van Winkle, "You could call it bourbon, or you could call it a $5,000 bottle of liquified, barrel-aged unobtanium." Julian Van Winkle, the third-generation head of his family's business, is now thought of as something like the Buddha of Bourbon - Booze Yoda, as Wright Thompson calls him. He is swarmed wherever he goes, and people stand in long lines to get him to sign their bottles of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve, the whiskey he created to honor his grandfather, the founder of the family concern. A bottle of the 23-year-old Pappy starts at $3000 on the internet. As Julian is the first to say, things have gone completely nuts.Forty years ago, Julian would have laughed in astonishment if you'd told him what lay ahead. He'd just stepped in to try to save the business after his father had died, partly of heartbreak, having been forced to sell the old distillery in a brutal downturn in the market for whiskey. Julian's grandfather had presided over a magical kingdom of craft and connoisseurship, a genteel outfit whose family ethos generated good will throughout Kentucky and far beyond. There's always a certain amount of romance to the marketing of spirits, but Pappy's mission statement captured something real: "We make fine bourbon - at a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but always fine bourbon." But now the business had hit the wilderness years, and Julian could only hang on for dear life, stubbornly committed to preserving his namesake's legacy or going down with the ship. Then something like a miracle happened: it turned out that hundreds of very special barrels of whiskey from the Van Winkle family distillery had been saved by the multinational conglomerate that bought it. With no idea what they had, they offered to sell it to Julian, who scrambled to beg and borrow the funds. Now he could bottle a whiskey whose taste captured his family's legacy. The result would immediately be hailed as the greatest whiskey in the world - and would soon be the hardest to find.But now, those old barrels were used up, and Julian Van Winkle faced the challenge of his lifetime: how to preserve the taste of Pappy, the taste of his family's heritage, in a new age? The amazing Wright Thompson was invited to be his wingman as he set about to try. The result is an extraordinary testimony to the challenge of living up to your legacy and the rewards that come from knowing and honoring your people and your craft. Wright learned those lessons from Julian as they applied to the honest work of making a great bourbon whiskey in Kentucky, but he couldn't help applying them to his own craft, writing, and his upbringing in Mississippi, as he and his wife contemplated the birth of their first child. May we all be lucky enough to find some of ourselves, as Wright Thompson did, in Julian Van Winkle, and in Pappyland.
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Format:
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Street Date:
11/10/2020
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780735221260
ASIN:
B0871L3J4J
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APA Citation (style guide)

Wright Thompson. (2020). Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Wright Thompson. 2020. Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Wright Thompson, Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last. Penguin Publishing Group, 2020.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Wright Thompson. Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last. Penguin Publishing Group, 2020. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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fullDescription
An instant New York Times bestseller
From the bestselling author of The Cost of These Dreams
The story of how Julian Van Winkle III, the caretaker of the most coveted cult Kentucky Bourbon whiskey in the world, fought to protect his family's heritage and preserve the taste of his forebears, in a world where authenticity, like his product, is in very short supply.

As a journalist said of Pappy Van Winkle, "You could call it bourbon, or you could call it a $5,000 bottle of liquified, barrel-aged unobtanium." Julian Van Winkle, the third-generation head of his family's business, is now thought of as something like the Buddha of Bourbon - Booze Yoda, as Wright Thompson calls him. He is swarmed wherever he goes, and people stand in long lines to get him to sign their bottles of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve, the whiskey he created to honor his grandfather, the founder of the family concern. A bottle of the 23-year-old Pappy starts at $3000 on the internet. As Julian is the first to say, things have gone completely nuts.
Forty years ago, Julian would have laughed in astonishment if you'd told him what lay ahead. He'd just stepped in to try to save the business after his father had died, partly of heartbreak, having been forced to sell the old distillery in a brutal downturn in the market for whiskey. Julian's grandfather had presided over a magical kingdom of craft and connoisseurship, a genteel outfit whose family ethos generated good will throughout Kentucky and far beyond. There's always a certain amount of romance to the marketing of spirits, but Pappy's mission statement captured something real: "We make fine bourbon - at a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but always fine bourbon." But now the business had hit the wilderness years, and Julian could only hang on for dear life, stubbornly committed to preserving his namesake's legacy or going down with the ship.
Then something like a miracle happened: it turned out that hundreds of very special barrels of whiskey from the Van Winkle family distillery had been saved by the multinational conglomerate that bought it. With no idea what they had, they offered to sell it to Julian, who scrambled to beg and borrow the funds. Now he could bottle a whiskey whose taste captured his family's legacy. The result would immediately be hailed as the greatest whiskey in the world - and would soon be the hardest to find.
But now, those old barrels were used up, and Julian Van Winkle faced the challenge of his lifetime: how to preserve the taste of Pappy, the taste of his family's heritage, in a new age? The amazing Wright Thompson was invited to be his wingman as he set about to try. The result is an extraordinary testimony to the challenge of living up to your legacy and the rewards that come from knowing and honoring your people and your craft. Wright learned those lessons from Julian as they applied to the honest work of making a great bourbon whiskey in Kentucky, but he couldn't help applying them to his own craft, writing, and his upbringing in Mississippi, as he and his wife contemplated the birth of their first child. May we all be lucky enough to find some of ourselves, as Wright Thompson did, in Julian Van Winkle, and in Pappyland.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from July 27, 2020
        Sportswriter Thompson (The Cost of These Dreams) uncorks a fast-paced and colorful history of 20th-century Southern culture, told through the story of charismatic cult-bourbon maker Julius P. Van Winkle III. “He’s a man around whom others tend to revolve,” Thompson writes. The story begins at a recent Kentucky Derby, where Thompson meets Van Winkle III amid a crowd of people with “seersucker stuck to their thighs” who “hold liquor like ninth graders.” In digging into the Van Winkle family’s saga of loss and internal conflict, he recounts three generations of successes and failures: It starts with patriarch Julian Proctor “Pappy” Van Winkle introducing Old Fitzgerald, a top-shelf 100-proof bourbon in 1935 and ends with the family’s reluctant sale of its distillery in 1972, due to “an eroding business and family politics.” However, the wildly successful Pappy Van Winkle bourbon that Van Winkle III created, is “a chance to soothe the pain his father felt when he lost what Pappy had built.” But it can’t revive a fading Southern culture that was largely mythical in the first place. “Being Southern,” Thompson writes, “means carrying a responsibility to shake off the comforting blanket of myth and see ourselves clearly.” Thompson more than fulfills that burden with insight and eloquence.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        September 15, 2020
        An amiable journey, courtesy of ESPN sportswriter Thompson, into the arcana of American whiskey. The author notes that he originally pitched this book as a biography of Julian P. Van Winkle III, a genial whiskey-whisperer whose wares are to booze as a Stradivarius is to violins. It morphed, however, into a blend of biography and meditation on any number of themes, including Southernness, or what musician Patterson Hood calls "the duality of the Southern Thing." Though a progressive, Thompson admits to a tear in the eye when hearing "Dixie" at the Kentucky Derby. "Being Southern means carrying a responsibility to shake off the comforting blanket of myth and see ourselves clearly," writes the author, a native of Clarksdale, Mississippi. There's not much better a comforting blanket, if one with undeniable consequences if too frequently applied, than a good slug of bourbon. That takes Thompson deep into the history of American whiskey, stuff that blends art and science but that has few firm rules. As he notes, for instance, American whiskey can be made with whatever grain grows best in a given place; in Kentucky, that means corn. Van Winkle is as steeped in that history as anyone alive (he also knows his wine and other forms of adult beverage), and through his lens Thompson informs us about the hard work and heritage that goes into a bourbon well and truthfully made, such as the 23-year-old Pappy (about $300 per bottle) that serves as social lubricant and social glue among the cognoscenti. Thompson is well versed in the history himself, and, like Van Winkle, he is quick with a delightful and spot-on opinion--e.g., "vodka is for the skinny and scotch is for the strivers and bourbon is for the homesick." If you're a fan of the magic that is an artful bourbon, this is just the book for you.

        COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 5, 2021

        Considering whiskey's current popularity, a collaboration between an iconic bourbon maker (the third generation of a legendary whiskey family) and Thompson (The Cost of These Dreams; ESPN senior writer) had a built-in audience. But even those who are not avid whiskey drinkers will enjoy reading Thompson's thoughtful, well-crafted words about family. Embarking on fatherhood himself, the author highlights the complex relationship between fathers and sons--what they build for each other and what they owe each other--as he tells how Pappy Van Winkle founded a sprawling distillery in the 1930s; how the family lost control by 1972; and how the quiet Julian P. Van Winkle III persevered to preserve his family's heritage. Thompson weaves in just the right amount of helpful historical background about the whiskey business, Kentucky culture, marketing tactics, and today's whiskey fanaticism. Interspersed among poignant and entertaining Van Winkle nostalgia (like the time it rained liquor) are the author's reflections on his own father figures and the kind of father he aspires to be. VERDICT A sure bet for whiskey enthusiasts (novices could pair it with Eddie Ludlow's Whiskey: A Tasting Course), this highly recommended biography has broad appeal for its heartwarming insights on the importance of family.--Bonnie Poquette, Milwaukee

        Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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An instant New York Times bestseller
From the bestselling author of The Cost of These Dreams
The story of how Julian Van Winkle III, the caretaker of the most coveted cult Kentucky Bourbon whiskey in the world, fought to protect his family's heritage and preserve the taste of his forebears, in a world where authenticity, like his product, is in very short supply.

As a journalist said of Pappy Van Winkle, "You could call it bourbon, or you could call it a $5,000 bottle of liquified, barrel-aged unobtanium." Julian Van Winkle, the third-generation head of his family's business, is now thought of as something like the Buddha of Bourbon - Booze Yoda, as Wright Thompson calls him. He is swarmed wherever he goes, and people stand in long lines to get him to sign their bottles of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve, the whiskey he created to honor his grandfather, the founder of the family concern. A bottle of the 23-year-old Pappy starts at $3000 on the...
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