New Netflix series explores world’s biggest bourbon heist

A new documentary series called Heist is premiering on Netflix tomorrow night that explores three of the biggest heists in modern American history. They include “Pappygate”, which saw 200 bottles of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon and rye whiskey stolen from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky.

The premium spirits theft is explored in “The Bourbon King”, the fifth and sixth episodes of the series. The episodes feature interviews with Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger, the Kentucky father who pleaded guilty in 2018 to stealing the bottles of the ultra premium bourbon from the distillery, where he had worked for 26 years in shipping.

An anonymous tip led police to Curtsinger’s home, where five full barrels of bourbon, intended to become Wild Turkey 101 an Russell’s Reserve, were found. At least 18 barrels of bourbon from Wild Turkey and Buffalo Trace, as well as 25 bottles of Pappy Van Winkle, were initially recovered by police.

Ultimately, 10 people were accused of stealing more than US$100,000 in bourbon, however much of it was never recovered and what was recovered had to be destroyed as a precaution against tampering or contamination.

Curtsinger (above), along with his wife July and eight others, was indicted in 2015. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but released in 2018 after 30 days under Kentucky’s “shock probation” program. Shock probation involves the judiciary showing discretionary leniency towards convicts, especially the young and first-time offenders.

The case made headlines, as Pappy Van Winkle is regarded as the most premium bourbon whiskey in the world, making it incredibly rare and hard to obtain. As the New York Times notes: “For the dedicated whiskey connoisseur, getting a taste of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve bourbon is a Tolkien-worthy quest.”

VinePair adds: “Pappy Van Winkle is the ultimate unicorn bottle for bourbon-lovers and considered a bucket list experience for true connoisseurs. While suggested retail prices are relatively low ($70-$300), those wishing to purchase one today will be fortunate to find Pappy within a multiple of 10 of that amount. Extremely limited production combined with insatiable demand has created a situation where prices of the ultra-premium 23 Year routinely reach $5000 a bottle.”

Sip Pappy while you watch the drama unfold

Whisky Loot has got its hands on three of Pappy’s most iconic juices and is breaking the bottles to give 10 Australian whisky lovers the opportunity to experience these rare drams.

The Whisky Loot x Pappy Van Winkle Tasting Packs includes:

  • Pappy Van Winkle’s 15 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon 
  • Pappy Van Winkle’s 20 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  • Pappy Van Winkle’s 23 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon

“I’m really excited to sit back and watch Heist while enjoying a dram of Pappy Van Winkle from our limited edition Whisky Loot packs,” said Joel Hauer, founder of Whisky Loot. “This bourbon is so rare that the extent that people have gone to enjoy it has been quite extreme so it will be fun to taste the juice that caused all this mayhem!”

How Pappy Van Winkle became a wildly expensive, impossible-to-find unicorn

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