By Richard Thomas
When Campari decided to launch a collection around the idea of long gone, lesser known whiskey personalities and defunct brands, they couldn’t have chosen a better concept to work with in the initial release than Old Ripy. This is because Irish immigrant James Ripy became the bourbon baron of Anderson County, with his distillery just down the road from where Wild Turkey is today, on the same stretch of the Kentucky River Palisades. Lawrenceburg’s T.B. Ripy mansion is locally known as “the house that bourbon built,” and is currently undergoing restoration so as to become a tourist draw.
This stuff was made at Wild Turkey (appropriately enough), but is not formally part of the Wild Turkey line. Old Ripy is described as a mix of 8 year old bourbon (a staple of Russell’s Wild Turkey) “with 12 Year Old and younger whiskeys” and bottled at 104 proof. This is labeled as Batch #1, so more is to come.
In the glass, Old Ripy has a light amber, copper coloring. It’s not a viscous-looking whiskey, and steams legs.
The nose is sweet with orange cream and vanilla. It also has a quite nutty side, surprisingly so. An oaky note rounds out the scent. The liquid sits light on the palate, and smacks of fruit like a swallow of apple and orange juice, seasoned with baking spices. The chewy nuts are there again too, making this like an interesting nut cake. This washes down as nutty, turning to a lingering sweet vanilla and very light warmth.
Old Ripy is set for a price of $49.99 in half-sized, 375 ml bottles. It’s tasty stuff, but I don’t think it’s $100 per fifth tasty, and that is what the math adds up to.