By Richard Thomas
Bourbon fans could look forward to with the coming of spring this year. One thing was the return of good weather and being able to dine and drink outside with a reasonable margin of safety again, what with the ongoing pandemic still being an issue. Another thing was far more predictable, but perhaps just as welcome: the release of the Spring 2021 installment of Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond Bourbon.
This batch is exactly what I expect to set the toxic kind of bourbon nerds to take to certain cobweb infested forums and complain, because it is not especially old. Old Fitz Spring 2021 is merely mature, rather than middle aged, at 8 years old. The irony is that kind of knee-jerk reaction would have been in keeping with the times when this whiskey was distilled, in 2013, but not so much today.
That fixation on the age statement overlooks the following: this isn’t just an 8 year old bourbon, but an 8 year old bonded bourbon; it’s not just an 8 year old bonded bourbon, but an 8 year old bonded and wheated bourbon; and the pricing is actually quite reasonable when you add all that up, so you can hardly point the finger at Heaven Hill and whine that they are trying to rip people off. It’s in tune with the price point of Barrell Bourbon releases.
So calm down, ignore the croakers on the forums and blogs, and check out what this expression of Old Fitz actually is.
A pour of Old Fitz Spring 2021 has a straight amber look to it. The scent serves up graham crackers with a dusting of brown sugar, seasoned with a syrup of vanilla, eucalyptus and mint. The flavor follows in a similar minty, herbal-spiced vein, but much more richly endowed. The finish runs minty as well.
That mint and eucalyptus character that I got from my sample of Old Fitzgerald Spring 2021 was novel and surprising; I am the first to acknowledge that maybe that was just a personal twist on my palate that night (this is the first review of this release to go live, so I have no idea what anyone else thought of it), but in my defense I must relate that I enjoyed it so much I nipped at my 100 ml sample bottle all through the evening and kept getting the same thing, over and over.
Addressing the 8 year old point again, this is the first time Old Fitz has dipped down to 8 years old, but I liked this installment as much or more than three older past installments: Spring 2020, Spring 2019, and Autumn 2019. All that just underscores the point that age isn’t the end all be all of whiskey; barrel selection counts for a lot as well.
This installment of Old Fitzgerald Bonded goes for $85 a bottle.