Nick Fury Loves Legendary (and Legendarily Hard to Find) Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon in Secret Invasion

Nick Fury Loves Legendary (and Legendarily Hard to Find) Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon in Secret Invasion

The following story contains some spoilers for Secret Invasion Episode 4, “Beloved.”

SAMUEL L. Jackson has played a lot of roles over the course of his long and impressive career. And while those roles range wildly in theme and character—from Spike Lee’s favorite neighborhood DJ narrating the hottest day of the summer to a Jedi master and everything in between—there’s one thing that kind of links every Samuel L. Jackson character: he is always cool. If Samuel L. Jackson is endorsing something on screen, it probably rules.

Case in point: when Nick Fury—Jackson’s longtime Marvel Cinematic Universe character and the lead of Secret Invasion—is sitting around talking up a Bourbon, we want to drink it. Things are ever-complicated, of course, when that Bourbon turns out to be $5,000 or so a bottle.

Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23 Year

Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 23 Year

Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23 Year

23 years of distilled perfection! I figure we could settle our beef like proper gentlemen,” Fury says to Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) from a table in his room. The two recently had a professional falling out, and Fury strongly suspects Rhodes of being a shapeshifting alien called a Skrull, under deep cover. He takes a sip. “Pappy! You outdid yourself on this one.”

Even Rhodes, who just moments earlier was, indeed, revealed to be a Skrull, knows the prestige of this Bourbon. “This the real thing?” he asks him, before Fury confirms: “$5,000 worth of 24-karat liquid gold.”

Rhodes brings up the idea that Fury could be trying to poison him, but Fury (thanks to Jackson’s incredible talents) is as convincing and charismatic as ever. The two share a drink, and the tense scene continues, perhaps momentarily squashing a beef over a great drink, but setting up quite a bit more.

Of course, as it turns out, Fury has placed a Mission: Impossible, James Bond-esque gadget within the Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon that Skrull Rhodey drank—a liquid location tracker. So while Rhodey definitely got to taste $5,000 dollars worth of 24 karat gold, it came at a cost: Nick Fury on his tail.

What is Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon?

nick fury pappy van winkle bourbon

Marvel Studios

Nick Fury and Skrull Rhodey are fawning over the Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon for good reason. Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve—the bourbon referred to in the show—is considered the flagship batch from the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery Company, which distills and brews its bottles in Frankfurt, Kentucky.

Pappy Van Winkle comes in three different varieties, aged 15, 20, or 23 years. The bottle that Fury has in Secret Invasion, the 23-year, is the hardest-to-find, and most exclusive. But all Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon is in high-demand. The Atlantic wrote about it back in 2012, titling its piece “The Bourbon Everyone Wants But No One Can Get” and detailing that famed chefs and culinary figures such as Anthony Bourdain and David Chang are among those who sing its praises.

In 2018, a Kentucky priest brought Pope Francis a bottle. The Pope’s comment? “Very good Bourbon.”

Now, the price is where things start to get tricky. In Secret Invasion, Fury refers to a $5,000 price tag (that’s for a standard 750 mL bottle). Due to a limited quantity and availability, pricing generally starts at $5,000—if you can even find it.

In general, though, if you want to taste the excellence that Fury and Rhodey so enjoyed, you’re going to have to pay up.

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Evan Romano

Evan is the culture editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE. He loves weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he doesn’t.

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