Monday, October 1, 2007

Last Night's Tipple

As I have previously discussed, Old Fitzgerald is currently distilled by the Heaven Hill Distillery at their Bernheim plant in Louisville. The brand is a venerable one, rising to glory and renown with the Stitzel-Weller Distillery and Pappy Van Winkle after Prohibition. It doesn't have nearly the reputation that it once did; instead, it's in Heaven Hill's stable of middle-shelf orphan brands with only a regional following. But it is still true to its wheated Bourbon roots. Heaven Hill had never distilled a wheated Bourbon when they acquired the Old Fitz brand in the early '90s, but instead of turning it into a regular old ryed Bourbon, they kept the mashbill and began to make their own wheated whiskey. Some of this whiskey is currently in the some of the Van Winkle bottlings (used while the Buffalo Trace wheated Bourbon was coming up to age), and Heaven Hill's experience with wheat led them to their experiment with Bernheim straight wheat whiskey, which is a one-of-a-kind offering. I'm not taken with Bernheim wheat, especially at the price; but I love the innovation and I have hope that the whiskey will improve with some more age on it.

But I was talking about Old Fitzgerald Bottled In Bond. It's not that hard to tell that it's a wheater -- the sweetness and the Wheat Thin grainy nose are both dead giveaways. It's not bad, but it's no Van Winkle. Heck, it's not even an Old Weller. It's just too hot, too rough. Two or three years more time in the barrel could do this whiskey good. That statement seems to be a recurring theme with Heaven Hill whiskeys.

No comments: