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Old Fitzgerald 17 Year Bottled in Bond Bourbon Review


Old Fitzgerald 17 Year Bottled in Bond Bourbon

The Spring 2022 release of Old Fitzgerald brought us a bold 17 year age statement, a first for the line since its inception in 2018. This wheated bourbon from Heaven Hill has always been a bit fickle for me; some releases are tremendous, others land just a bit lackluster. I admittedly may not be the biggest fan of Heaven Hill's wheated mash bill in general, having not found many Larceny or Bernheim releases that I've enjoyed historically. The Bernheim is also actually a wheat whiskey using 51% wheat rather than the dominant 51%+ required to be labeled a bourbon. I do love their regular bourbon releases, however... looking at you Elijah Craig. I won't let these preconceived notions get in the way of a proper tasting though, so let's dive in on this!


Old Fitzgerald 17 Year Bottled in Bond Bourbon

 

Company on Label: Heaven Hill

Whiskey Type: Bourbon

Mash Bill Percentages: 68% corn, 20% wheat, 12% malted barley

Proof: 100°

Age: 17 years

Further identification: This is the Spring 2022 Release of Old Fitzgerald which comes in a fanciful decanter style bottle bearing a green label


 

Nose: My first smell off this well rested glass is the prevalent barrel influence. 17 years is no short window of time to be pushing in and out of white oak. Peanut brittle dominates the nose, likely a strong interaction between the post-fire Beam yeast and this mash bill. Chocolate layers in forming an enjoyable Reese's peanut butter cup profile. Overall the nose is quite punchy and bright which makes it hard to find the right depth for my nostrils with respect to the glass. Dusty linen notes can be found on deep inhales. Returning to the nose from a sip amplifies notes of leather, dark earth, cigar box and vanilla. Popped corn can be found on deep inhales. The empty glass smells of smoldering tobacco, herbal funk and mascarpone.


Palate: My first sip is warm and inviting. I find cherry skins, peach flambé and an oily caramel mouth coating right away. Another sip is candied sweet with sweet tarts and skittles tantalizing the tongue. The mouth coating is creamy and pervasive and I can experience it everywhere, almost like I'm surrounded by it as in a rick house. This is a wonderful departure from some of the spicier wheated bourbon releases I've tried previously. Oooh - wonderful plum, maraschino cherry and Hershey's strawberry syrup notes all cohesively land as I continue to explore this glass. A longer sip and swish reveals wonderful balance and depth. I hesitate to celebrate complexity here, as it has mainly just been soft variations of the same base profile which is perfectly fine given it is extremely delicious. Somehow this manages to drink under 100 proof, but there is still plenty of flavor volume. Raisin and chocolate cake sit in the infinitely long linger. As the cherry notes pop I find a quick cinnamon sizzle before a river of raspberry jam washes everything away. My last sip hosts a wonderful array of flavors. Vanilla bean, angel food cake and prune notes slowly ebb and flow like the slow receding of the outgoing tide.


 

Rating: 4/5



This is a great example of what Heaven Hill can do with this mash bill. I certainly won't be making any general statements about this release like I did in the introduction moving forward! This takes what I enjoyed about the 11 year and 14 year releases and manages to elevate it to another level. The balance this shows off really puts it into the stratosphere of an exceptionally elegant whiskey. For that reason it gets my "Keep Amongst the Whiskey" distinction.



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