Starting in 2018, Heaven Hill began its bi-annual special release of Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond. Age statements on each of these wheated bourbons have varied between 9 years and 14 years. As with all bottled-on-bond products, each Old Fitzgerald release is bottled at 100-proof.
And with any special release collection, the question emerges – which Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond is the best?
Some of these Old Fitzgerald special releases have been separately reviewed previously. However, the best way to answer the question “which is best?” is to try each release side-by-side. A few of our members recently met to sample four releases of Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond.
As you will see, an interesting trend developed as we tasted each.
Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond 11 Year (Spring 2018)
Nose: Dry, nutty, unsalted peanut shell; raw California almonds; milk chocolate; bing cherries; honey; sugar in the raw; vanilla; baking spice; leather. 3.5/5
Palate: Cinnamon; peanut/peanut butter and peanut brittle; fruit cocktail; light baking spice; more chocolate. A bit thin and brash compared to the palate of the others. 3.5/5
Finish: Peanut butter; dry, burnt sugar; more peanut butter and some oak spice. 3.5/5
Overall: At 11 years old and 100-proof, this had some surprising flaws. It was enjoyable, obviously, but unable to reach a higher level with some of its dry and thin characteristics. 3.5/5
Value: Retailing at $110 (but often priced much higher, particularly being the flagship release in this series), this left something to be desired at that price point. 2/5
Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond 9 Year (Fall 2018)
Nose: Un-chewed strawberry gum. Circus peanut. Orange candy. Waffle cone. 3.5/5
Palate: Sweet and salty fruit-and-nut mix. A lot of salted peanut mixed with raisins and milk chocolate. 4/5
Finish: A bit drying, with some peanut brittle and rounding out with chocolate. 3.5/5
Overall: There was noticeable improvement in the palate compared to the 11-year, but the dry characteristics returned in the finish. A different, and at times better, overall profile from the 11-year, but not by a significant margin. 3.5/5
Value: For $90, this delivers a better taste on investment than the 11-year/$110. 3/5
Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond 13 Year (Spring 2019)
Nose: Much fruitier than the previous two, with raspberries, bananas, mixed with chocolate covered marshmallow. 4/5
Palate: Salty stone fruit with milk chocolate and some underlying minerality. 3.5/5
Finish: Bitter sweet chocolate; sea salt; almond; granny smith apple. 4/5
Overall: The abundance of fruit was a welcome addition in this release. The dry character from the prior two bottles was also absent. 4/5
Value: At $130, feelings for this bottle start to sour a bit. It’s good, and some aspects are very good, but not enough to satisfy at that price. 2.5/5
Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond 14 Year (Distillery gift shop release)
Nose: Grapes; Cognac; vanilla; toffee; some fresh asphalt. 4/5
Palate: Much stronger oak presence than the other bottles; syrupy flat cola; silky texture; baking spice. 4/5
Finish: Oily and sticky; all spice; white pepper. 4/5
Overall: Where the 13-year emphasized fruit, this 14-year does the same with spice. The baking spice and all spice in the palate and finish paired very well with the texture. 4/5
Value: Bucking the trend of $10/year aged, this bottle is available only in the Heaven Hill Distillery gift shop for $175 (or $500 on the secondary online market). While it was our favorite of the bunch, it does not satisfy at nearly double the price of the 9-year. 2.5/5
Gentlemen devoted to the finest.