Whiskey Review: Old Fitzgerald Fall 2022 Bottled-In-Bond

, | January 16, 2023

Editor’s Note: This whisk(e)y was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. 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.

The minimum age required for a Bottled-in-Bond whiskey is four (4) years. This makes this recent Fall 2022, 19 year old release in Heaven Hill’s Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond line up a considerable accomplishment.

Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond decanter bottles have become a sought after seasonal release. They release two a year – one in Spring and one in Fall. This latest offering is the oldest expression released by Heaven Hill for this line, but a previous Spring release was close at 17 years old. Heaven Hill states the whiskey was pulled from across three floors of Rickhouse F and one floor of Rickhouse X at the their Kentucky campus.

Heaven Hill acquired the Old Fitzgerald brand in 1999. The namesake John E. Fitzgerald has a heralded legacy in the bourbon community. In fact, he has been honored multiple times by Heaven Hill. As a brand, they also released the Larceny label as an homage to one of the grander tales about this legendary figure.

This reviewer has been fortunate enough to own a few of these expressions. I will say, I am partial to Bottled-in-Bond whiskey. I believe 50% ABV is a ‘sweet-spot’ for most whiskey. Not too hot, not too tame, just the right amount of kick to remind you it’s whiskey without overwhelming your senses. I will say a 19 year age statement shocked me a little.

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Unlike a Scotch, which is aged differently and barely getting going at 19 years, bourbon sits in hot, then very cold, rickhouses in the lands of Kentucky, meaning old bourbon can have a lot of oak in them. It takes a delicate hand to ensure you aren’t letting the wood do more of the talking than the corn.

Heaven Hill knows Bottled-in-Bond. However, 19 years is extremely ambitious. Will the oak overpower the delicate sweetness of the bourbon, or did they hit that ever elusive sweet spot with this? With that, we turn to the glass.

Old Fitzgerald Fall 2022 Bottled-In-Bond review

Old Fitzgerald Fall 2022 Bottled-In-Bond (image via Heaven Hill)

Tasting Notes: Old Fitzgerald Fall 2022 Bottled-In-Bond

Vital Stats: Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond, Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 19-years-old. 50% ABV. MSRP $240.

Appearance: Burnt amber, with thin and quick legs.

Nose: Warm and inviting. There is the briefest hit of alcohol, but its warming vs. astringent. This nose has a lot of pieces, they are extremely mature and difficult to parse out. Strong dark chocolate, with vanilla bean – it seems to have a hint of coconut and a touch of hard caramel. It really doesn’t have the over oak qualities you’d expect for a 19-year bourbon, or char, or leather. Despite its age, it is vibrant and sweet. It is, I will distinguish, mature smelling.

Taste: This is drying, syrupy and a bit of a punch of alcohol. I found soft spice, the oak that was missing from the nose, the softness of caramel in the wheat and sugar from the corn. The sip does what you want from an excellent bourbon. The front end greets your senses and really gets things going. It is followed by the mid palate, which adds the sweet notes of the nose with the complexity of the oak and mature compounds.

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The finish just holds. As your body warms up, so do the notes on the finish. You get oak, which gives way to tobacco, which gives way to chocolate and finally holds with caramel and spice.

Whiskey Review: Old Fitzgerald Fall 2022 Bottled-In-Bond
5

Summary

There are no surprises here – this whiskey is a cut-above. The softness of a wheat bourbon is not lost from 19 years in oak. The alcohol content does not overwhelm or burden the drinker. There is a marriage between all the component elements of this whiskey to create a mature, consistent, and powerful drink.

There are elements I wish this whiskey had. Which is to say, how this whiskey could be my perfect whiskey, not actual flaws, or ways to improve this whiskey. I mean if I built my “dream” whiskey, this would be a large percentage of what I’d want, with a few alterations. Again, no surprises here. This lineage has hit all the marks, and this one is no different.

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Charles Steele

Charles Steele is a Portland area attorney, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. His legal education affords him an analytical approach to understanding whiskey and other aged spirits. Traditionally a legal writer, freelancing for The Whiskey Wash will prove a unique opportunity to flex his writing skills. Although he...