The Old Fitzgerald sour mash bourbon brand from Heaven Hill, with a typical price of under $25, is relatively popular among budget bourbon labels. It is made with “a whisper of wheat” instead of the more typical rye grain, and has a history going back over 120 years. I make mention of it because an older bottling making use of the Fitzgerald name looks to be heading to retail soon, at least according to a new bottle label just approved by the TTB.
The upcoming John E. Fitzgerald Very Special Reserve, as noted on the approved label found in the TTB database, is said to have been aged 20 years. It is also said to have been distilled at the
mythical Stitzel Weller distillery (UPDATE: whether this is the “mythical” SW distillery where the old Pappy Van Winkle once was made versus some other process that ties in the legendary name is a question at the moment – until we learn more, as the well regarded bourbon writer Chuck Cowdery has said on his bourbon blog, we will leave this discussion open ended) and bottled by Heaven Hill at 90 proof. The name John E. Fitzgerald, by the way, is also associated with the Heaven Hill Larceny bourbon brand. When you consider this, and the fact a key shows up in the bottling imaging, it is possible it could be released under that label instead.
If this two decade old bourbon does come to market, it will be released in 375 ml bottles and likely will be a limited edition release. There’s no mention of pricing or when it might hit store shelves at this point, but given the craziness that happens around anything associated with Stitzel Weller bourbon, I wouldn’t expect it will be too much longer before we learn more about it.
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...