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Beverages/Pappy Van Winkle 2009 Decanter Set


QUESTION: Hi Paul, I have a question regarding Pappy Van Winkle Decanter set, a Limited Edition Old Rip Van Winkle Bourbon Whiskey 23 Year. Julian and Preston Van Winkle hand-picked these select barrels which were filled in April of 1986. This bourbon was not chill filtered, leaving in all the flavor and complexity of the whiskey. Each decanter will be bottled at the original barrel entry proof of 114.
There are only 1,200 of these unique decanters available. Each bottle was produced by the award-winning Glencairn Crystal of Scotland and is hand-engraved and numbered to commemorate the exclusive bottling. Every decanter packaged in a beautiful solid wood, leather-lined box along with a crystal stopper and two crystal glasses.
I bought this bottle from a private individual online, unfortunately the bottle came with a torn plastic wrapper around the cork. As I confronted the seller because he failed to describe the damage he refused to refund. How significant this damage to the collectible item like that? I am afraid it would cut the value of the item significantly?

Thank you.

ANSWER: Hi Dmitriy

Without seeing the bottle, I can't say for certain, but there are two possible leevels of damage here.

1.  The plastic is torn, but the integrity of the seal is not compromised.  In this case, youu can still confirm that the product has not been opened, tampered, or replaced; and the impact on the overall value is small--maybe 10% or so.  After all, it is not in perfect condition.

2.  Because of damage to the seal, there is no way to confirm that the contents are original...and what's inside the bottle may or may not be what it says on the label.  In this case, there is a huge negative impact on the value--maybe worth 50% or less of the full value, or even less.

Hope that helps.  I would certainly address this the seller.

Paul Wagner

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Paul, thank you for your prompt reply. I am actually disputing this with the Seller, through PayPal. PayPal is asking me to provide the following

"In order to continue with the investigation of your complaint, we must
request documentation to support your claim that the item is damaged or
significantly not as described. Please obtain a document (such as an
estimate or invoice) from an unbiased third-party, such as a dealer, repair shop, appraiser, or another individual or organization that is qualified in the area of the item in question (other than yourself). This document should detail the extent of the damage or clearly explain how the item received significantly differs from the item advertised. Please do not proceed with any repairs or alterations to the item, as doing so will limit PayPalís ability to successfully resolve your claim, and may result in the cancellation of your dispute. If possible, the document should include a serial number and description of the item, and the dollar amount required to complete the repairs necessary to correct the damage. This document must be on letterhead that includes the name, address, and phone number of the individual, business, or organization so that PayPal may contact them if necessary."

Would you be willing to share your expertise in a letter form confirming the damage done to the bottle (obviously, me providing with the factual (photos) information to support the damages done to the bottle).

I would agree to donate to your name for your time and services. Please kindly let me know.


Hi Dmitriy

I'm happy to write a note--but it will have to wait until I get back to my office.  I'm on vacation in New Orleans until the 28th.  And it would help if you could send me a photo, so I can more accurately describe the bottle and seal.

You might also check with an auction house such as Christies or Bonhams-itheir expertise in this field tops mine!

Paul Wagner


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Paul Wagner


I have spent most of my adult life eating and drinking throughout the world, and can usually remember some of it! With Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio, I host a radio show and podcast called Bottletalk at, where I answer questions about food and drink on the air.


30 years in the business.

I have taught at Napa Valley College for the past 20 years.

Past/Present Clients
Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines Company, The Court of Master Sommeliers, Constellation Wines, The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, Vinitaly, Napa County Agricultural Commissioner.

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