Fortuna Bourbon, Tied To A Shapira, Pops In Kentucky After Long Slumber

| September 12, 2022

Rare Character Whiskey, founded in 2021, is the brainchild of co-founders Pablo Moix and Peter Nevenglosky. Two entrepreneurs with extensive experience in the spirits industry – Moix a restaurateur, bar owner, and distilled spirits expert; Nevenglosky the CEO and Co-Founder of Drifter Spirits, which includes Avuá Cachaça, Paladar Tequila, and Svöl Aquavit – they collectively bring a lot to the table already.

More recently, the two have been joined by Andrew Shapira, a family member tied to the storied Heaven Hill family legacy. Shapira has himself, working in conjunction with Moix and Nevenglosky, become part of the driving force behind the new Fortuna Kentucky bourbon whiskey label, a resurrected brand with a somewhat romantic history.

Fortuna, according to information posted about it by the brand, was focused upon back in the 1880s by one Phillip Hollenbach. Fortuna was said to have played “an integral role in the early days of the American whiskey industry,” being described by bourbon historian Michael Veach as being one of the brands produced by the Stitzel Brothers at what eventually would become the Glencoe distillery.

Fortuna Bourbon

Fortuna Bourbon is a resurrected Kentucky bourbon brand managed by Rare Character Whiskey and Andy Shapira of Heaven Hill fame. (image via Rare Character)

The history of the Glencoe name becomes something like that of so many other one time Kentucky legends – shuttered. In its case the original Glencoe, noted Rare Character, was ended by Prohibition, with it being “shut and dismantled from 1920 to 1935.” Rebuilt after this not far from its original site by Philip’s son, Louis, it was sold in 1942 to National Distillers. They closed it three years later, moving production to another location and renaming that Glencoe. This Glencoe was eventually shut down in 1972.

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The Fortuna brand, in the meanwhile, is said to have been last bottled in the late 1950s.

What is Fortuna today is noted as being a six year old “traditional rye” bourbon, distilled and aged in Kentucky, that’s bottled at 102 proof. A six barrel blend, official tasting notes as posted over at online retailer Seelbach’s make mention of “orange blossom honey and plums. A nice brightness of cherry blossom and citrus oil. The palate is viscous. Lots of caramel, cherry and baking spice. It balances nicely with each sip showing off a little more of each note.

“The finish is long with plums, toasted sugar and tobacco.”

Fortuna is pricing around $85 per 750 ml bottle.


Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...