I am really stoked to get into this one tonight. I've been sitting on this sample for far too long and was looking to try something really new to me. I have very limited experience with Old Fitz in general and thought I'd start my way at the top!
Company on Label: Heaven Hill
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 75% Corn, 20% Wheat, 5% Barley
Age: 16 years
Further identification: I received a 2oz sample of this in a swap from @barrelproofnerd; this is the distillery-only release you have to get at the Heaven Hill gift shop
Nose: Heaven Hill paper and vanilla forward. Candy strawberry. Sweet caramel. Definitely an older oak influence but it remains bright and exciting at this proof. I can tell there is a whirlwind of fruit aromas mixing and blending below, but my light nosing isn't intense enough to draw them out just yet. Very light and airy at the start of the glass. I haven't rested this long. Cardamom is a very clear layer to this. It begins to evolve towards a mellow citrus orange peel the feels like a cocktail rimmed glass kind of experience. Now settling into a lovely caramel base. Time for a sip. Nose opened up drastically towards some bready notes. Something bready like pizza dough but more sweet like a crépe. More of that milk chocolate drizzle. The oak feels like an old home amongst the trees. It reminds me of Carver, MA. There's also some sugar cookie that got a touch too much vanilla extract added and the sweetness went off the charts! Near the bottom of the glass there is a strange rubber aroma I found very briefly. Bottom of the glass demonstrates some of the darker herbs now that I've drank away a lot of the sweetness. Empty glass is caramel and a touch of smoke.
Palate: Wow, that is some intense flavor. Such rich, decadent cherry layered with milk chocolate, pepper, creamy caramel, graham crackers and vanilla. Unbelievable first sip to this. It has that high flying sweetness that also carries bigger notes of spice. The mouth coating is rich but not overly intense, and it lingers long. Some of that cardamom transfers to the palate now with a nice citrus sweetness. Allspice accompanies it to give it a little kick. The caramel and butterscotch mixture that this has is fantastic. A larger sip and a chew reveals this to certainly be a Heaven Hill product with a beautiful unique vanilla and crisp, white, glossy paper. On the last sip I am bombarded with red fruit. I can feel syrupy sweet flavors passing through my airways. This has that long fuzzy, buzzy linger that I adore out of 15+ year old bourbons. This is definitely one of those examples of why some things have sweet spot ages. Wheated bourbons can certainly stand up to 16 years well with this as a great example.
I am definitely camping out for one of these whenever I make it down to KY. Yum! This does what Elijah Craig Barrel Proofs do, but at 30 less proof points, which is intense and impressive.