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Taste Test: Old Fitzgerald’s Youngest Bourbon Yet Is Full of Flavor Beyond Its Years


It can be hard not to focus on age statements, and that’s understandable given that for so long whiskey brands have used them as a sign of quality. Most savvy whiskey drinkers now know that older does not necessarily mean better, especially when it comes to bourbon . Proof of this concept is the new edition of Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond, an eight-year-old bourbon that is one of the youngest in the series but still punches way above its weight.

Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond comes out twice a year in the fall and spring. Each release varies in age, but keeps the BIB designation intact—at least four years old, exactly 100 proof, and the product of one distillery ( Heaven Hill in this case) and one distillation season. The oldest whiskey in the series came out a year ago—the fall 2022 release was 19 years old, which is very old for a bourbon aging in the cold winters and hot summer of Kentucky.

The new fall 2023 release has gone the opposite route, matching the spring 2021 release at just eight years old. That might seem kind of young, especially given the collectible nature of these whiskeys that come in fancy decanters and sell for hundreds of dollars on the secondary market. The fact is that eight years old is a sweet spot for a bourbon, slightly younger than a bottle of Knob Creek and a bit older than your typical Wild Turkey or Four Roses .

While this might not be the absolute best Old Fitzgerald you’ve tasted, it certainly does not read as immature on the palate and has a lot of redeeming qualities. There’s a bit of grain on the nose and the first sip, big corn notes that are developed rather than green and raw. The palate then shifts into something that is very enjoyable to sip, with classic bourbon vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and cooked apples notes, along with a hint of oak but nothing close to something even just a few years older.

Remember, this is a wheated bourbon made from Heaven Hill ‘s mashbill of 68 percent corn, 20 percent wheat, and 12 percent malted barley. The lack of rye in the recipe yields something sweeter, more along the lines of Maker’s Mark or Pappy Van Winkle . But this whiskey is not totally devoid of spice notes, and at 100 proof there’s a nice flash of heat on the finish.

The SRP for Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond is $109, but the reality is that most bottles you find online of past releases are selling for well over $500. Sure, the decanter has an old-school design that will look great on your home bar, and the whiskey within is delicious. But given the brand’s reputation, will people be willing to pay such high prices for an eight-year-old bourbon? After all, as mentioned before you can find bourbon a year older for less than 50 bucks.

Whiskey drinkers are not about to completely change their feelings about age statements any time soon, nor are they suddenly going to ignore a younger whiskey from a brand like Old Fitzgerald. The best thing that could happen is to be able to find this bottle for close to its asking price, because that seems like a pretty good deal. But if you’re willing to shell out some cash, focus on the flavor and not the age, and enjoy this fine bourbon for what it is.

Every week Jonah Flicker tastes the most buzzworthy and interesting whiskeys in the world. Check back each Friday for his latest review . .

From: robbreport

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