Old Fitzgerald 15
Think back to what you were doing in September of 2004. Maybe you were hosting one of the season’s last barbecue’s–or perhaps you were, like me, kicking off another semester of college. What was Heaven Hill doing? Just filling barrels that would ultimately become Old Fitzgerald 15 year bottled-in-bond. Let’s have a look!
In researching such an ornate and sought-after bottle, we looked to Heaven Hill’s website to see what they had to say:
Each Spring and Fall, a new edition of the Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond decanter series is released. Bottled in an ornate decanter inspired by an original 1950’s Old Fitzgerald diamond decanter, the series reflects the traditions of both the Old Fitzgerald history tied to John E. Fitzgerald and the historic Bottled-in-Bond designation. The Old Fitzgerald line is well-known for its distilling pedigree as the brand was first registered in 1884 by S.C. Herbst, and was eventually sold to Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle during Prohibition. Pappy moved production of Old Fitz to his distillery where it became the first great Wheated Bourbon. In 1999, Heaven Hill bought the Old Fitzgerald brand and began distilling it at the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville.
It’s nice to get a little history lesson when reading up on a product, especially one that comes in such a great looking decanter. If the bottle alone isn’t enough to captivate your guests, there’s plenty of story to go along with it.
Nose – Deep and rich. That Kenny Coleman “Sweet Oak” pops right up, and mixes with deep dark fruit and some spice.
Taste – Oh it’s good. This is perfectly oaked for me, and hauls a suitcase full of dark caramel with it. The vanilla, fruit, and spice (is it allspice?) are working in some pretty kickass harmony here. This is balanced, but does let you know it’s 15 years old with the barrel’s influence hanging on.
Finish – This is a great example of a nicely balanced pour. The sweet vanilla and rich caramel work nicely with the fruit (that I don’t dare call cherry or orange, because it’s somehow both). The classic Heaven Hill background note that–for me–can be a little bit of a banana nut bread is there, but it’s tucked in deep under the other layers and it all just works. The finish is long, but a “short long” if you’ll accept that as a description.
Bourbon Finder Grade: B+
There’s just no denying that this is a great product in nearly every way. Having tried the younger (13 year product) and not having been totally amazed by it, I was a bit skeptical to break the tax strip on this bottle. I’m happy to report it was well-worth picking up. This special bottle will be a favorite in The Bourbon Finder bunker until it’s last glorious pour, and getting another bottle is definitely on the to-do list.
Check out our partner KegNBottle to get yours today.
Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we’re excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is, so our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible–as such–we decided that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us (and didn’t accurately showcase variability in taste from day to day). We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because we feel it is indicative of the whiskey’s grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a “B” today may very well be a “B+” or even a “B-” on another day, so rather than focusing on a precise score today that may not stand the test of time, we are just sharing our overall grade of that pour for that one tasting. Pour a bit and enjoy, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!