Review: Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond 9 Years Old Spring 2020 Edition
This limited edition bottling of the wheated Old Fitzgerald recipe hasn’t disappointed yet, and this first 2020 release — though we’re hardly in “spring” at this point — is no exception to that rule.
The whiskey kicks off with an aggressive but inviting nose, sharp with more baking spice than expected, burnt sugar, tobacco, and some tar. A savory, almost beefy note rings the edge of the whiskey, giving it a rather dense austerity. The palate again feels on the hot side, and while it’s perfectly manageable at full proof, water has an outsized effect in taming the beast. It’s still quite sharp either way, but a little water helps to calm down the spice and coax out more of a brown butter and gingerbread note. It lacks the softness of a wheated bourbon, but that’s never been Old Fitzgerald’s forte, anyway. Instead, with this whiskey you typically get a combination of two worlds — gentle wheated bourbons and the more rustic, in-your-face frontier style. This edition of Old Fitzgerald doesn’t exactly nail that balance, landing a little roughly on the punchier side of things, but it’s still a fun exploration of the classic Old Fitzgerald recipe.