“If God made bourbon, this is what he’d make”

By Matthew Milner, on Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain knew a thing or two about fine food and booze.

So when he said the following about a certain brand of bourbon, I paid attention:

“If God made bourbon, this is what he’d make.”  

Bourdain was so blown away by its quality that he tweeted he was considering getting a back tattoo of this bourbon brand.

Can you guess which bourbon he was talking about?

Today I’ll reveal the answer…

Tell you how some investors made a 514% gain from it…

And explain how you can get in on the action starting with as little as $43.

“If God made bourbon, this is what he’d make.”

Bourdain was known for consuming exotic local foods on TV — including sheep testicles in Morocco, ant eggs in Mexico, and an entire cobra, including its beating heart, in Vietnam.

But that’s not how he got his start. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, he spent years running top restaurants like Brasserie Les Halles on Park Ave in Manhattan.

In 2000, he published a book called Kitchen Confidential and his fame started to grow. By 2002, he was hosting food and global-travel TV shows including Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. In 2006, he started guest judging on Bravo’s Top Chef, and in 2008, he was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America.

Some say he reached peak celebrity in 2011, when he played himself on The Simpsons. But not me. As a committed Scotch and bourbon drinker, I believe his influence reached peak in 2012. That’s when he had this to say about a particular bourbon:

“If God made bourbon, this is what he’d make.”

He even tweeted he was considering getting a full back tattoo of this bourbon brand.

Can you guess which brand he was talking about? Here it is…

Pappy Van Winkle: Ai, Pappy!

Julian Van Winkle was born in 1874 into a family of lawyers and educators in Louisville, Kentucky. By 1893, he’d started on his own path as a whiskey salesman. And by 1915, he was producing whiskey himself using Kentucky wheat rather than rye.

When “Pappy” Van Winkle died in 1965, his son, Julian Jr., took over his distillery. And in 1981, his son took over. 

Fast-forward to 1998, and Pappy Van Winkle bourbon received an unheard of 99 out of 100 at the World Spirits Championships. But despite winning dozens of awards, including a Gold Medal in San Francisco World Spirits Competition, production remained very limited. In the early 2000s, for example, Pappy was producing just a couple thousand cases per year.

Then, in December of 2012, Anthony Bourdain drank a glass of Pappy on television and started waxing poetic about God-made bourbon and back tattoos — and interest in the brand spiked. Google searches soared, and resellers were flipping $100 bottles for $750. Several U.S. states literally started holding lotteries so consumers could buy a single bottle.

Today, with Pappy an elite “investment-grade” whiskey, it’s almost impossible to score a bottle.

As Julian Van Winkle, III said in 2015: "I can't think of another product, period. Ferrari, Lamborghini? But if you have the means, you can get one of those. That's not necessarily true with us. We have people with literally billions of dollars who can't find a bottle. They could buy a private jet in cash. They'd have an easier time buying our company." 

Earlier this year, a vintage bottle sold for $52,000.

But now you can get your hands on some Pappy — for just $43…

The Collection: PAPPY1

In July of 2022, an investment platform called Rally acquired a collection of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.

I’ve written about Rally many times, including here.

Rally gives ordinary people the ability to invest small amounts of money into various collectibles. Essentially, just like you can buy a $100 stake in a startup, now you can buy $100 worth of a piece of art from Keith Haring, or in a collection of bourbon.

Rally’s Pappy Van Winkle collection consists of six bottles that are, respectively, 10, 12, 13, 15, 20, and 23 years old.


In August 2022, Rally offered shares in this collection at $7 each.

Today, those shares trade hands at $43. That makes for a 514% gain — not bad for holding some bourbon for a year or so!

While extraordinary gains like that are unusual for any type of investment, whiskey as an asset class does seem to be having its moment. According to the Motley Fool, the “rare whiskey” asset class is up 478% over the last decade.


As always, we’d caution you not to put your rent or grocery money into alternative investments such as whiskey.

But as a fun place to allocate a few investment dollars — you can buy one share for about $43 — it’s certainly an option worth exploring!

Interested in learning more? Start here »

Best Regards,



If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to updates:

Sign-up today and you'll receive our daily insights on early-stage investing, as well as our FREE "Equity Crowdfunding Action Kit" – where you'll learn:

  • The Ins & Outs of Equity Crowdfunding
  • A step-by-step path to get started
  • Tips from dozens of Venture Capitalists
subscribe to updates

Thank you for subscribing!

Tags: Alternative investments Whisky

Share This:
comments powered by Disqus