- DISTILLER: Heaven Hill
- MASH BILL: 75% Corn | 20% Wheat | 5% Malted Barley
- AGE: 11 Years
- YEAR: 2018
- PROOF: 100 (50% ABV)
- MSRP: $110.00
- BUY ONLINE: Wine-searcher.com
NOSE: Buttery | Tobacco | Apricot | Oak
TASTE: Watered Down Vanilla & Caramel | Buttery Oak | Black Pepper
FINISH: A moderately long finish that is dry, spicy and oak forward. Despite the oak forwardness of the finish it never turns bitter - just hot and dry. All of the magic appears to be in the nose on this whiskey.
SHARE WITH: Share this one with fellow bourbon geeks who are curious about this release and how it compares to other wheaters.
WORTH THE PRICE: Afraid not. I would put this one solidly in the $30 bracket.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Don’t let the marketing and decanter fool you folks. This is a try it before you buy it whiskey.
OVERALL: Let me start by saying that if tasting blind, this would be a perfectly drinkable whiskey. I wouldn’t spit it out and pawn it off on someone else. I would drink it. Moreover, if you poured me another glass, I would drink that as well. However, the reality is that I didn’t drink it blindly. I drank it knowing quite well that it retailed for $110 and came in a fancy decanter. So thus, my expectations were set high - as they should be based on the packaging and pricing.
The nose is fantastic and really got me excited about the bottle's potential. It was buttery with lovely notes of tobacco and apricot slathered on a substantial slice of oak. I anticipated a thick, oily mouthfeel with heavy flavors but was disappointed to be greeted by a thin, watered-down combination of vanilla, caramel, and spicy black pepper. Sure, there was some buttery oak, but it didn’t lend enough oomph to the experience. While the finish had some length, it wasn’t very flavorful or memorable. It sure didn’t taste or finish like an 11-year old bourbon.
For $110 a bourbon needs to be memorable. It needs to be far better than anything I can get for less than $80 and needs to be superior to previous expressions within the same brand label family. Sadly, this one missed the mark. This release is a prime example of a distillery jumping the shark and doing itself more harm than good. Heaven Hill is one of the most respected bourbon distilleries in the market and legions of fans - myself included - love their products. However, they missed the mark on this one. It’s a solid bourbon by most measures but dressing it up in fancy decanter does not make it worth $110. Save your money and stock up on Larceny, Elijah Craig or Evans Williams.
OLD FITZGERALD BOTTLED-IN-BOND BOURBON BACKGROUND INFO
BARDSTOWN, KY – Heaven Hill Distillery announced today the release of a limited-edition series of Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey bottlings to be released each spring and fall. Bottled in an ornate decanter, the series reflects the traditions of both the Old Fitzgerald lineage and the bottled-in-bond designation. Launching this spring with an 11-year-old bottling, whiskey aficionados and history buffs alike will revel in the newest edition of the Old Fitzgerald family.
Inspired by an original 1950’s Old Fitzgerald diamond decanter, the newest packaging will thrill collectors as the brand was traditionally bottled in artistic decanters of all shapes and sizes. The label features the time-honored graphic of a key, commemorating an important element in original labels and the brand’s slogan since the 1940’s, “Your key to hospitality.” Kentucky’s state seal and a prominent brand banner replicate a pre-Prohibition label. Spring editions will be denoted with a green label and fall editions with a black label. The age will change with each edition and will also be indicated on the bottom of the label.
Each edition’s tax strip, which has always been a signature of transparency on bottled-in-bond products, will disclose when the liquid was produced and bottled.
“For 82 years Heaven Hill Distillery has nurtured and produced historic brands of quality and heritage,” said Heaven Hill Distillery Master Distiller Denny Potter. “It is an honor to join a famous line of distillers behind the Old Fitzgerald name and to continue to uphold the tradition of the brand through its bottled-in-bond designation, which dates to the early 1900s.”
Larceny Bourbon, a descendant of the Old Fitzgerald line, tells the legend of Treasury Agent John E. Fitzgerald who held the keys to the bonded rickhouses, and helped himself from barrels containing only the finest bourbon. The agent’s selections became known around the distillery as “Fitzgerald barrels” and were used to create a soft, wheated bourbon known as “Old Fitzgerald.”
The Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond Series will be available in the 750ml size on an allocated basis each spring and fall throughout the next five years. The spring 2018 edition meets the strict requirements of a bottled-in-bond: the product of a single distillery from a single distilling season, aged a minimum of four years, and bottled at 100 proof or 50% alcohol by volume. The first edition is available at a suggested retail price of $110.00.
Disclaimer: Heaven Hill provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.