Rare Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Head Fetches Insane Amount at Auction to Support Restaurant Workers in Need

Old Rip Van Winkle 25-Year.

Update 5/1: An Ultra-Rare 25 Year Old Rip Van Winkle Bourbon barrel head has sold for over $20,000 at auction – slightly surpassing its goal! A final bid of $20,025 was placed on the priceless Van Winkle collectors item, $25 over its goal. This barrel head is one of only 16 in existence. The auction ended on April 29th at 11:30 p.m. EDT. The proceeds are headed to The LEE Initiative Restaurant Relief Workers Program, founded by Louisville Chef Ed Lee.

It’s so very important for the Van Winkle family to support a community that has supported us for so many years,” said Preston Van Winkle. “I know I speak for the entire family when I say that we are exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to be able to give back and for the generosity of the individuals who bid on the barrelhead. It’s a drop in the bucket in terms of what is needed for the restaurant community but every bit helps. We hope to be able to continue to support organizations like the LEE Initiative.

“It is truly amazing to see good people step up in a time of such turmoil,” said Chef Ed Lee. “I count myself incredibly lucky to have Julian and Preston and Carrie to call friends who have always helped in times of need. This money will help so many people.

Want a hell of a bourbon collector’s item to show off at your next home gathering (whenever that may be)? Better yet, want to know know your bid on it went to helping the restaurant industry in this dire time of need? Here’s your chance!

The wonderful owners of Pappy & Co and the Van Winkle Family are generously donating this priceless 25 Year Old Rip Van Winkle barrel head, one of only 16 in existence. According to Pappy & Co, this barrel head is #9 of 16 commemorating the oldest release in the ORVW history.  

The barrel head features a signature from family patriarch Julian Van Winkle.

“As a family, along with our family-run businesses, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery and Pappy & Company, are honored to join in support of The LEE Initiative Restaurant Workers Relief Fund,” write the Van Winkles in the auction listing.

“We recognize the great need across the service industry of which we are so humbled to play a small role, and hope to effect change in any way that we are able. Through Pappy & Company, we have designated that 100% of the proceeds of sales of our special edition barrel head will directly benefit the LEE Initiative’s Restaurant Worker Relief Fund.”

The LEE Initiative Restaurant Relief Workers Program, founded by Louisville Chef Ed Lee, has helped out those in the restaurant industry that have suffered since on the onset of COVID-19. The program is now running in 19 cities across the nation. To learn more and contribute – click here.

As of publication, the top bid was already $3,325. The family hopes the barrel head will raise up to $20,000 for Chef Lee’s cause. The auction is open until April 29th – link here to place your bid.

Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.