Written By Pappy & Co.
It’s no secret that the Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Pure Maple Syrup is one of our best selling items. While they may have industry awards and thousands of customer reviews to prove it’s well-earned popularity, we thought we’d take a moment to answer what exactly makes Pappy & Co. maple syrup so darn special?
For those who haven’t had the chance to enjoy this maple syrup, we highly encourage you to pause reading this blog post and hop on over to our product page and order your bottle today. But if you still need a few more reasons to better understand why this isn’t your average Aunt Jemima, here are a few things you should know:
The Source of the Barrels:
Pappy & Co. only uses authentic Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels. Many “barrel-aged” food products claim to use bourbon barrels from various unnamed sources. But how many of those brands and products can claim to use authentic Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels? Pappy & Co is the only brand out there that can claim this right, thanks to their family business and unique relationship to the Old Rip Van Winkle distillery.
The Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels don't wait in a warehouse for weeks before being filled with maple syrup. They coordinate directly with the distillery so that the maple farmers pick up our barrels within 24 hours of being “dumped”. That means these are un-rinsed barrels. In a time where demand is so high for their family’s bourbon, it has become standard to rinse the barrels with water after they are dumped to produce more yield. But in this case, that remnant bourbon remains in the barrels for the aging process.
Furthermore, there is no broker or middleman involved like most barrel-aged products, so they can ensure the syrup is aged as quickly as possible in the barrels.
The Age of the Barrels:
The syrup is aged in 10-23 year old barrels, which is a huge reason for the depth of flavor of the syrup which more readily takes on the special characteristics of their older aged wheated bourbon that most barrel-aged products don’t share since they are usually made from much lower quality barrels, which have aged whiskey for months, rather than years.
They partner with Bissell Maple Farm located in Jefferson, Ohio. Bissell has been making their own maple syrup for more than 100 years and is run by seventh generation maple farmers. Nate Bissell personally collects the barrels himself and oversees the entire aging and production process to ensure consistent quality and flavor in every bottle Pappy & Company sells. They have a close working relationship with Bissell Maple Farm and consider them part of their extended Pappy & Company family. Every step of the way we work side by side from the barrel pickups to bottling to package design and shipping.
They use not one, but two different maple saps. Which makes their maple syrup selection unique. They use a blend of tree sap from Red Maple and Sugar Maple. This flavor profile matters because it adds a certain complexity and depth to the flavor as well as hints of caramel unlike any other maple syrup out there. They also use 100% pure maple syrup. There is no high fructose corn syrup, maple “flavor” or other additives in our maple syrup. The unique bourbon flavor comes from the barrels and nothing else.
Tradition Meets Technology:
The sap is collected from the maple trees in the spring, using galvanized buckets. This is a manual process aging back to the very early years of maple collecting (ie: tradition). The buckets are then dumped into tanks and pumped into the sugarhouse where a Reverse Osmosis (RO) Machine extracts the water from the sap which increases the sugar concentration (ie: technology at its finest). From there it is evaporated and what remains is the highest quality concentration of pure maple syrup ready for barrel aging.
The Barrel-Aging Period:
They triple barrel-age the maple syrup. This means it takes three barrels to make a single barrel of maple syrup to capture the oak flavor unique to our maple syrup. There are no additives or flavoring used, simply using time to develop that delicious oak flavor. No one else in the industry does this. Most likely because it is so much work and takes more time. But like their great grandfather Pappy, they believe in using the highest quality ingredients and highest quality processes to produce the highest quality products.
Their partners at Bissell Farms have quality certifications that only a few have in the maple industry can claim. These include the Kosher Certification from Ohio-K and a third party food safety audit from Merieux, both of which are unique to Pappy & Company’s standard of maple syrup. In a consumer shopping study, it was shown that 3 of 5 shoppers buy kosher for higher quality and increased food safety. By having their maple syrup Kosher certified and audited, they believe it is a testament to their willingness to undergo rigorous inspections to produce maple syrup at the highest caliber.
The Accolades and Awards:
Year over year this maple syrup continues to be one of the top three selling products. In 2020 Pappy & Co were the winners of the Good Food Awards. Among 2,000 applicants we were honored with this award for our maple syrup, recognizing “taste-making crafters at the vanguard of deliciousness and social and environmental excellence.”
Nothing speaks louder than the words of our customers, who continue to rave about this maple syrup. With consistently high marks, 5 stars and accolades such as “Best on the planet. This is the best maple syrup, out of the world flavor, doesn’t get any better than this. Pappy would be proud.”
They’ve also had the good fortune to be featured by celebrity chefs such as Tyler Florence claiming “that beautiful caramel aroma of perfectly aged bourbon, and so incredibly smooth, meets organic maple syrup. Boom, this is next level stuff!”
Buy your bottle here.