(Read more: 10 things you didn't know about Kentucky and bourbon)
"This is the mac daddy," said Melton, who doesn't drink bourbon but is well aware of Pappy's cachet.
Spokesmen for the Buffalo Trace and the Van Winkle office did not return calls seeking comment.
Pappy is one of the nation's most sought-after bourbons, with a reported production of only about 7,000 cases a year at Buffalo Trace for the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. The bourbon is aged 20 years and bottled at 90.4 proof.
(Read more: A bourbon lover's Holy Grail: The bourbon trail)
Melton said there have been previous theft reports from Buffalo Trace, but not many.
"Their internal controls are pretty good," he said, "and that's why it's been very, very rare for it to happen."
—By The Associated Press