Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Heaven Hill
Distillery: Heaven Hill
Released: August 2018
Age: 9 Years
Mashbill: 75% Corn, 20% Wheat, 5% Malted Barley
Color: Light Copper
MSRP: $90 (2018)
Produced in October 2008 and bottled in August 2018, this is the 2nd of 10 in Heaven Hill’s Old Fitzgerald Bottled-In-Bond series. These will be a bi-annual release with the first arriving in the spring of 2017. Each bottle in the series denoted by different color labels, with the Fall 2018 release sporting a black colored label. During the same period, Heaven Hill released a distillery-only edition with a red label and sporting a 14 year age statement. Additionally each bottle comes with a faux tax strip that discloses when the bourbon was produced and bottled.
To be labelled Bottled-in-Bond, the whiskey must be the product of one distillation season and one distiller at a single distillery, aged in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision for at least four years, and it must be bottled at exactly 100 proof. Additionally, the Bottled-in-Bond label must clearly identify the distillery where it was distilled and where it was bottled, if different.
Soft classic scents of vanilla, hay, and light oak blend together. On the surface it doesn’t seem overly complex, but digging deeper there’s raisin, light green apple, and a smidge of cinnamon and brown sugar mixed together. The scents mingle extremely well together and present a solid start to this bourbon.
The sip provides a nice creamy viscous mouthfeel. Delicious syrupy sweet vanilla, raisins, a dab of lavender infused honey, and a touch of butterscotch. Even though it’s a 100 proof bourbon, there’s almost no burn which allows you to savor this for a while. It’s gentle yet full of flavor and simply put, fantastic.
A warming heat that showcases light oak, sweet vanilla, and a slight hint of golden raisins. The raisins are very fleeting, and leave behind a light sweet vanilla and oak taste that lingers for a short bit. This eventually transitions to just a light oak that gently lingers for a while. It’s a really nice way to cap the sip, however after the fantastic palate, I can’t help but want more out of the finish.
Bottled-in-Bond bourbons are actually more common than you think. Buffalo Trace has their E.H. Taylor line, Brown-Forman has Old Forester 1897, and Heaven Hill has a slew of Bottled-in-Bond bourbons and whiskeys. However just because a whiskey is labeled Bottled-in-Bond doesn’t guarantee that it will be good. All you know for sure is that the whiskey is at least 4 years old, bottled at 100 proof, and is the product of one distillation season and one distiller at a single distillery.
The Fall 2018 Edition of Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond delivers a wonderful overall sip. It’s rich creamy mouthfeel and well defined flavors all eb and flow incredibly well and deliver an experience that many other Bottled-in-Bonds in the market currently don’t. It’s more impressive that it does all of this without being a high proof bomb or carrying a double digit age statement, which seems to be a rarity nowadays when compared to other highly regarded limited releases.
The first edition was an 11 year old bourbon that was priced with a suggested MSRP of $110. Seeing as the fall 2018 edition is 9 years old and is priced at $90, Heaven Hill’s pricing strategy seems to be about $10 a year for their limited edition Bottled-in-Bond releases. Even the24 year old Parker’s Heritage Bottled-in-Bond was priced at $250.
While this pricing strategy is easy for consumers to understand, it still represents a big upcharge compared to other Bottled-in-Bond bourbons in the market. Heaven Hill alone makes two well received Bottled-in-Bond bourbons that are both under $30, that being Henry McKenna 10 Year and the Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond.
That said, price alone doesn’t solely determine value. In this case, the bourbon is fantastic and delivers an experience that makes you feel justified with the money you spent on this release. As a bonus, the bourbon comes in a bottle that can serve as a great home bar decanter once it’s emptied out. With a sub $100 price tag and a flavor profile that can back up the high cost, Heaven Hill priced this one right on the money.
If Bottled-in-Bond bourbons are supposed to show off a distiller’s talents, this is as fine of an example as there is.
Plain and simple, Old Fitzgerald Bottled-In-Bond Fall 2018 Edition really is a well balanced and all around great bourbon. In a crowded field of limited releases, the Fall 2018 edition esques any sort of gimmick and instead exemplifies everything a Bottled-in-Bond label represents. The sip is rich and refined, and has you going back for more and more. While the price may be high for some, the bourbon justifies the cost and gets me really excited to see how the rest of the Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond limited release series turns out.
The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Heaven Hill. We thank them for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.