Interesting, decent, but on the whole a bit too spare, lean, and a bit over the hill.
Notes: Old Fitzgerald is an older brand by bourbon standards. Old Fitzgerald was acquired by Heaven Hill in 1999 to add to their stable of already very solid to great brands. Heaven Hill itself dates back to 1932 and the repeal of Prohibition.
Some of their many other brands and line extension include Elijah Craig Bourbon, Larceny Bourbon, Evan Williams Bourbon, Pikesville Rye Whiskey, Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, and Parker’s Heritage Collection. We have over 40 Heaven Hill products that we have reviewed altogether.
This is the Sixth edition we have reviewed so far. There have been a total of eight releases altogether, but we missed the first two. We started with the Old Fitz Spring 2020 Edition, The Old Fitz Fall 2020 Edition, Old Fitz Spring 2021, and finally, The Old Fitz Fall 2021, The past five editions we reviewed have been much younger than this one at 17 Years Old. Not sure what they did this, but the other bottling this year of the First Edition of The Heaven Hill Heritage Collection was also 17 Years Old.
This is a Bottled In Bond bottling of bourbon that is seventeen years old (making it the oldest release of this series, the previous one was 11 years old) and is the eighth release in the series. Old Fitzgerald uses wheat in the mash bill to reduce the spiciness that a heavy rye version of bourbon can have.
This version was made in the fall of 2004 and bottled in the spring of 2022. No mention of where they pulled the barrels from this year.
Allocated and already probably hunted to extinction except for the outer provinces. This whiskey will probably be trading for stupid money on the grey market fairly quickly among the vapid, vulgar, and taste-challenged wankers that engage in such markets,.. Yes, it is going to be rare and sought after, but for the money, one could buy a couple of 12-Year-old, and barrel-proof Elijah Craig releases and actually enjoy them in a glass or as cocktails.
Appearance: Honey yellow with some red notes to it, On swirling, it leaves a nice oily ( if not overly thick ) coat on the glass. Legs form slowly and thinner than some. Clear, honeyed appearance overall.
First Impression: A bit spirity out of the gate on the first pour, then settles down a bit. Subtle corn and wheat notes – almost an almond or subdued marzipan note, a touch of grassiness and cereal makes it way through. Corn, followed by the unmistakable high notes of wheat and barley malt, chiming in last. A deeper, slightly woody, and fatty note compared to the last ( younger) release.
Taste: Corn, wheat, barley, followed up with an oak char and tobacco dryness. A light to medium body with a more austere and dry entry than previous releases. It coats the tongue to deliver a sweet grain malt with a rapid follow-up of spice and drying, almost charcoal note. The whiskey then retreats to leave a pleasant glow and slightly long finish that is first a touch sweet, then drying again to a woody, alkaline, mild tobacco fade.
Drinks: At $185 MSRP (never mind the Grey Market price), I would not use it for cocktails. Yes, it is subtle and spare, but you could use cheaper and slightly more assertive instead
Bottle: Did not receive the production bottle, so cannot comment.
Other: Goes well with a lighter cigar, say a corona or smaller Ashton.
Final Thoughts: A delicate but spicy expression of a bourbon with some pleasant edges to it. Plenty of spice and pepper for those who like that along with a dose of barrel char. Frankly, though, it tastes and finishes a bit tired and overdone. A bit too old and spare, not as complex as it could be. Frankly, it would have benefited from soft white winter wheat for a better mouthfeel too.
Website: HeavenHilldistillery.com This is a direct link to the Old Fitzgerald pages. If you back up, you can see all their brands – which are quite a few!
Both this link and the other pages have a plethora of information and photos. Well laid out and fast loading. Heaven Hill has one of the easier-to-navigate and visually pleasing websites in the industry.