Heaven Hill Distillery has announced the Spring 2021 release of their rare Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond decanter series, the first 8-year-old in the line.
The Old Fitzgerald decanters are released twice each year across the country to mark the traditional distilling seasons, spring (green label) and fall (black label), in addition to a red label distillery only release each year. The line launched in 2018 and has delivered bottled-in-bond bourbons between 8 and 16 years of age.
Each release is made from the same wheated bourbon recipe that made the Old Fitzgerald name famous during the decades after Prohibition when it was bottled by Stitzel-Weller. The eight year age statement on this particular Spring 2021 release is especially meaningful – before 1958, 8 years was the maximum amount of time a bonded bourbon could be aged before the government called to collect taxes on the barrel, so Stitzel-Weller introduced an 8-Year Very Old Fitzgerald as their top shelf bourbon.
The Old Fitzgerald line is traditionally a bonded bourbon, although Heaven Hill does offer a gold label budget version at 80 proof in Kentucky. Legend goes that John E. Fitzgerald wasn’t a distiller, but a tax man, who inspected the warehouses where bonded bourbon was aged. Whiskey labeled bottled-in-bond must all be the same type (bourbon, rye, etc.), must be distilled during the same distilling season at the same distillery by the same master distiller, must be aged a minimum of four years in a government bonded warehouse, and must be bottled at exactly 100 proof. It’s an exhaustive bar for distillers to meet, but their payback comes in the form of a tax break – rather than pay taxes on a full barrel, they’re able to pay on only what they bottle, and an 8 year barrel can have almost 20 gallons evaporate as it rests.
The youngest age statement in line brings good news in the budget department – this will be the most affordable Old Fitzgerald release yet at just $85. Look for it on shelves in the coming weeks.