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History’s Greatest Monsters

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I wouldn’t pony up the money for Pappy, just on principle, but this is some pretty bad, if ultimately low-level corruption.

Bourbon aficionados have watched over the years as Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve bourbon has become a highly coveted luxury item — a status symbol, one whiskey expert said, akin to a Rolex watch, a Ferrari or a Birkin bag. The version that has been barrel aged for 23 years can sell for more than $5,000 a bottle on the secondary market.

So when an internal investigation, made public this week, found that top officials at the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission had used their positions to procure and purchase hard-to-find bottles of Pappy Van Winkle, some bourbon connoisseurs said they were outraged but not surprised.

“Pappy has become a form of currency and power,” said Heather Greene, the chief executive of Milam & Greene, a Texas distillery, and the author of “Whiskey Distilled: A Populist Guide to the Water of Life.” For those who prize the bourbon and go to extreme lengths to find it, it’s about “the hunt, the kill, the win and then the flex,” Ms. Greene said.

The investigation found that six officials at the commission, which regulates alcoholic beverage sales in Oregon, had abused their positions by diverting bottles of Pappy Van Winkle and other liquor from a state warehouse so that they could buy them in stores. The liquor was intended for the public.

I can see certain bourbon drinkers, perhaps even some of my colleagues at this here blog, outraged enough if they lived in Oregon to toss some people off the top of Multnomah Falls.

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