The fourth release in Heaven Hill’s Old Fitzgerald Bottled-In-Bond collection is the oldest yet, featuring a 15-year age statement. As required by law, this bottled-in-bond bourbon was produced at a single distillery during one distilling season, aged at least four years, and bottled at 100 proof. The limited edition release hits shelves at a suggested retail price of $150.
Spiced dark caramel, buttered rum cake, figs, and oak spice envelope the nose. On the palate, multiple layers of caramelized sugars are joined by hints of candied pecans, fruitcake, root beer concentrate, and oak spice. The spice notes ramp up a bit going into the warm, slightly dry finish.
What’s interesting is that for such an old whiskey, oak domination isn’t an issue. Instead, oak spice and tannins season the whiskey. I love the waves of dark, caramelized sugars and the dried fruit. The entry is a touch soft, as the bourbon drinks under its 50% abv. All in all, the Fall 2019 edition of Old Fitzgerald Bottled-In-Bond is my favorite. Recommended, but only if you can find a bottle for retail pricing.
Thanks to Heaven Hill for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
The last several batches of Barrell Bourbon have lived in the 9 to 11 year range. Their latest, Batch 022, is a blend of 5-year-old straight bourbon whiskies distilled and aged in Kentucky and Indiana and bottled at cask strength (116.6 proof). In fact, the last release this young was batch 013.
The Kentucky barrels utilized here bring a dry, woody character to the final blend. In contrast, the Indiana barrels added floral, herbaceous, and sweet notes.
Sweet orange aromas steer the nose on this batch, along with hints of gin botanicals, vanilla, caramel, and apricot. The palate features a creamy mouthfeel flavored by notes of orange blossom honey, cola, caramel, and a certain grassiness. The medium, sweet, and slightly dry finish features a distinct, lingering cinnamon candy note.
Batch 022 comes across as lively and aromatic. The rye grain in the mash bill brings about an almost barrel-aged gin quality on the nose. The folks behind Barrell Bourbon are always looking to present something interesting in each batch, and they’ve certainly achieved their goal here. Barrell Bourbon Batch 022 is a tasty reminder that the bourbon flavor profile can certainly be expanded upon. Plus, it’s exquisite when used in an Old Fashioned. Recommended.
Barrell Bourbon batch 021 comes to us as a blend of 10-14-year-old straight bourbon whiskies distilled and aged in Tennessee and Kentucky. The 10-year-old barrels used in this batch featured an oak-forward character. Eighteen 14-year-old barrels were added to bring a bit of balance to the final blend. The resulting batch comes in at 106.34 proof (53.17% abv).
The nose starts with a big butterscotch note soon accompanied by hints of English breakfast tea, spice, and ripe berries, with a tinge of lemon peel. It’s deep but lively. On the palate, dark berries mingle with vanilla and molasses. Spices build but don’t overpower. The long, dry finish features oak tannins, leather, and dried fruit.
The webpage for this batch mentions it’s a “wonderfully autumnal bourbon, built on a dry toasty backbone with hints of butter and fruit layered in for complexity and contrast.” The description is spot on. I can easily imagine sipping on this batch of Barrell Bourbon in front of a fire on a cool night. It feels like it was designed for precisely this time of year. Another appetizing release from the meticulous minds at Barrell Craft Spirits. Highly recommended.