Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Heaven Hill. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Heaven Hill Distillery is a prolific producer with more than a few household labels in their portfolio: Evan Williams Bourbon, Elijah Craig Bourbon, Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, and Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon, to name a few. The distillery itself was founded in 1935, but the story of the Shapira family, who continue to run the business today under company president Max Shapira, can be followed a bit further back.
Shapira’s grandfather was a Russian immigrant who arrived in the United States in the late 1800s. Making his way north to Kentucky, the family patriarch made his living as a street merchant, selling household goods and trinkets carted around in a backpack. Soon enough he moved on to a proper storefront in New Haven, Kentucky. This store provided the Shapira family a steady enough income to provide for five children, children whose growth into adulthood coincided with the rapidly approaching end of prohibition in 1933.
Sensing the imminent shift and soon-to-be-legal demand for alcohol, the Shapira siblings banded together to invest in a local, emerging distillery. Naturally, their product wouldn’t hit shelves for several years as the whiskey matured, but eventually they made a strong debut with Old Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond. It quickly became the top-selling whiskey in Kentucky.
As the years rolled by Heaven Hill Distillery’s portfolio expanded, yet their trademark remained bottled-in-bond whiskies. This specific nomenclature denotes a few key traits: 100-proof, aged at least four years, and produced by one distillery during one distilling season, as well as adhering to a couple of more archaic rules regarding government supervision. Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond Spring 2022 Edition is the latest product in this tradition released by Heaven Hill Distillery.
If in search of a classic bourbon that hits all the familiar notes, this is the whiskey for you. It’s far from experimental, containing tried and true flavors and a comforting nose. If you want a bourbon’s bourbon, a whiskey typical of Kentucky and full of classic oak-and-apple flavor, it will likely satisfy. Just keep in mind that it’s a far cry from Irish or Japanese style whiskey, leaning hard into the sweet side of bourbon. If unprepared, you may find it saccharine, so adjust your expectations accordingly.
Tasting Notes: Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond Spring 2022 Edition
Vital Stats: 100-proof Kentucky bourbon. Distilled fall 2004 and bottled spring 2022 (age 17 years), MSRP $185
Appearance: Dark amber in color with fairly high viscosity.
Nose: Bouquet of crisp red apple, fresh rainfall, and maple beignets.
Palate: Notes of oak and vanilla dominate, supported by cinnamon, apple, and pear. The finish doesn’t linger long and the whiskey is very sweet. Coupled with its viscosity, the overall impression is a tad cloying to my tastebuds, even a bit syrupy.
This is the Platonic ideal of a bourbon: sweet, dark, and round. When you think of American whiskey, this style is likely what pops into your head, and for many people that will be a good thing. I personally found it oversweet and prefer whiskey with stronger floral presence and a lighter palate overall, but if you prefer your whiskey on the heavy side, you will probably enjoy this.
User Review2.75 (4 votes)
Austin Scarberry is a writer and pastry chef based in Portland, Oregon. He uses his experience in the culinary industry to inform his reviews, letting the gentle thoughtfulness he learned from baking guide his work. Outside of The Whiskey Wash, he mainly writes poetry and fantasy/sci-fi. You can find his...