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View Full Version : Why isn't Old Fitzgerald better?



Josh
02-19-2010, 07:56
There are few distilleries as respected around here as much as Heaven Hill. Their brands almost always deliver great value for money, even the upper-end offerings. Craig & Parker take quality seriously.

So I had been hoping that as soon as they got the kinks worked out of the Bernheim distillery and got enough aged wheat bourbon, the quality of the Old Fitz line would improve. The new 2000 EWSB, the first edition to be made at Bernheim, is very good, so I would expect that the Old Fitz would be back to being a quality bourbon by now.

But it's not. I was able to taste some current 1849 (ok, I bought it by mistake thinking it was a dusty) and it was just not up to snuff. A bit of delicate sweetness, giving way to some burn and a shallow bitter aftertaste. Just not good at all.

I do like the Bottled-in-Bond, but the rest of the line varies from crummy to dull and overpriced. So why isn't it better? HH knows how to make good whiskey. Do they just not care about wheaters? Is there some sort of techinal problem? Anybody have any ideas?

The Boozer
02-19-2010, 09:53
There are few distilleries as respected around here as much as Heaven Hill. Their brands almost always deliver great value for money, even the upper-end offerings. Craig & Parker take quality seriously.

So I had been hoping that as soon as they got the kinks worked out of the Bernheim distillery and got enough aged wheat bourbon, the quality of the Old Fitz line would improve. The new 2000 EWSB, the first edition to be made at Bernheim, is very good, so I would expect that the Old Fitz would be back to being a quality bourbon by now.

But it's not. I was able to taste some current 1849 (ok, I bought it by mistake thinking it was a dusty) and it was just not up to snuff. A bit of delicate sweetness, giving way to some burn and a shallow bitter aftertaste. Just not good at all.

I do like the Bottled-in-Bond, but the rest of the line varies from crummy to dull and overpriced. So why isn't it better? HH knows how to make good whiskey. Do they just not care about wheaters? Is there some sort of techinal problem? Anybody have any ideas?

I believe someone else mentioned on another thread that Craig & Parker are just not that interested in "wheaters". I thought EWSB is a rye bourbon?
Tim

Josh
02-19-2010, 09:56
I believe someone else mentioned on another thread that Craig & Parker are just not that interested in "wheaters". I thought EWSB is a rye bourbon?
Tim

Yeah, didn't mean to imply that EWSB was a wheater. I meant that it was proof that Bernheim can make very good whiskey.

T Comp
02-19-2010, 11:04
There are few distilleries as respected around here as much as Heaven Hill. Their brands almost always deliver great value for money, even the upper-end offerings. Craig & Parker take quality seriously.

So I had been hoping that as soon as they got the kinks worked out of the Bernheim distillery and got enough aged wheat bourbon, the quality of the Old Fitz line would improve. The new 2000 EWSB, the first edition to be made at Bernheim, is very good, so I would expect that the Old Fitz would be back to being a quality bourbon by now.

But it's not. I was able to taste some current 1849 (ok, I bought it by mistake thinking it was a dusty) and it was just not up to snuff. A bit of delicate sweetness, giving way to some burn and a shallow bitter aftertaste. Just not good at all.

I do like the Bottled-in-Bond, but the rest of the line varies from crummy to dull and overpriced. So why isn't it better? HH knows how to make good whiskey. Do they just not care about wheaters? Is there some sort of techinal problem? Anybody have any ideas?

Man will I jump on this bandwagon. I couldn't agree more! I'll throw in the Prime also, as being just as the 1849. In fairness, I haven't had the current Very Special and one of the cognoscenti (I think Murray) recently had good things to say, if I recall correctly. Also confouding is that the first releases of their BIB distilled at DSP 1 (circa 2001, and thanks to ggilbetva for the tip) are really good and superior to the current bottle stamped 09 BIB. Inquiring minds want to know?

OscarV
02-19-2010, 12:44
I believe someone else mentioned on another thread that Craig & Parker are just not that interested in "wheaters". I thought EWSB is a rye bourbon?
Tim

Yeah I posted that, I forgot where I heard it but I do remember thinking that it was a credible source.
Old Fitz just ain't good.
It's to bad because in the wheater segment there is only HH's OF and the Van Winkles.
And then there is the industry leader in the wheated bourbon segment which of course is the Rain Vodka company's Weller line, which has lost it's luster with me.
The Special Reserve is kinda bland.
The Old Weller 107 is kinda harsh.
The Weller 12yo is OK, but just that, OK. I see why it's only 24 bucks for a 12yo.
Last years WLarueW was hot.
And the Centennial was awesome so I guess that's why they dropped it.
Yes a hell of a lot more could be done in the wheated bourbon segment.

callmeox
02-19-2010, 12:55
It sounds to me like you need an evening with a bottle of Makers Mark to wake you up to the wonders of wheaters, Oscar. :grin:

OscarV
02-19-2010, 13:01
Yes a hell of a lot more could be done in the wheated bourbon segment.


It sounds to me like you need an evening with a bottle of Makers Mark to wake you up to the wonders of wheaters, Oscar. :grin:

I completely forgot about MM, I wonder why?:rolleyes:

jburlowski
02-19-2010, 13:14
I believe someone else mentioned on another thread that Craig & Parker are just not that interested in "wheaters". I thought EWSB is a rye bourbon?
Tim

When I asked Craig (at a tasting a few months ago) about the HH wheater line, it was clear from his expression and tone of voice that he'd rather talk about something else.

Wasn't it reported somewhere here that when BT bought Tom Moore they discovered the Barton had also been making wheated bourbon? I asked Harlen Wheatley about it (at another tasting) and he responded only with the standard BT line: : We are excited about the addition of Tom Moore and the Barton brands to our family, etc, etc."

OscarV
02-19-2010, 13:32
Wasn't it reported somewhere here that when BT bought Tom Moore they discovered the Barton had also been making wheated bourbon?

What were they doing with it?

Josh
02-19-2010, 13:37
What were they doing with it?

IIRC, Chuck mentioned this, but it wasn't wheated bourbon, but Wheat Whiskey.

But if Tom Moore was making wheated bourbon, they could have been selling it to HH to fill out the Old Fitz line, post-fire.

ggilbertva
02-19-2010, 18:56
Man will I jump on this bandwagon. I couldn't agree more! I'll throw in the Prime also, as being just as the 1849. In fairness, I haven't had the current Very Special and one of the cognoscenti (I think Murray) recently had good things to say, if I recall correctly. Also confouding is that the first releases of their BIB distilled at DSP 1 (circa 2001, and thanks to ggilbetva for the tip) are really good and superior to the current bottle stamped 09 BIB. Inquiring minds want to know?

I rummaged through the bunker and found my earlier Bernheim Old Fitz. Its bottling year was 2002. I picked up two of these bottles, both dated the same and the one I opened was quite good. I just recently picked up a 2006 and the color on this one is shades lighter than my '02 so suspect it's quite a bit younger than the earlier bottling.

It really is a shame that wheated bourbons have taken a bit of a downturn and aren't living up to their heritage.

Old Lamplighter
02-19-2010, 19:34
It really is a shame that wheated bourbons have taken a bit of a downturn and aren't living up to their heritage.

A little hard to understand, or, is most of the interest/demand for wheaters to be found here with the likes of us, the more dedicated and loyal crowd(?).

Josh
02-19-2010, 20:07
A little hard to understand, or, is most of the interest/demand for wheaters to be found here with the likes of us, the more dedicated and loyal crowd(?).

For Weller and Van Winkle yes, but I think there is one exception. Maker's Mark. Which I would, frankly, rank above the current Old Fitz Prime & 1849, the latter at the same proof.

barturtle
02-19-2010, 20:55
What were they doing with it?

When UDV split up Barton ended up with Kentucky Tavern, which at the time was a wheated bourbon. They may have kept it as such, and when Luxco bought the brand they also may have kept it as a wheater.

Jono
02-19-2010, 21:57
Luxco has Rebel Yell as a wheater....not that it improves the wheated selection any.

http://www.luxco.com/public/brands/brands.asp

I would agree with MM being better than Old Fitz 1849.

OscarV
02-20-2010, 04:12
When UDV split up Barton ended up with Kentucky Tavern, which at the time was a wheated bourbon. They may have kept it as such, and when Luxco bought the brand they also may have kept it as a wheater.

I looked in my bunker and I just happen to have a bottle of Kentucky Tavern.
I bought it in KY in 2006, the label says "The Aristocrat Of Bourbons".
If that's true then it was a bargain at around 10 bucks.
But seriously, was Kentucky Tavern trying to mimic S-W's OF with this wheater and the "Aristocrat" theme?

Old Lamplighter
02-20-2010, 05:34
For Weller and Van Winkle yes, but I think there is one exception. Maker's Mark. Which I would, frankly, rank above the current Old Fitz Prime & 1849, the latter at the same proof.

Absolutely right......like others, I keep forgetting bout MM.....don't know if that is a reflection of my senility or the whisky itself - or a combination of the two (but not with that particular bourbon).

barturtle
02-20-2010, 11:30
I looked in my bunker and I just happen to have a bottle of Kentucky Tavern.
I bought it in KY in 2006, the label says "The Aristocrat Of Bourbons".
If that's true then it was a bargain at around 10 bucks.
But seriously, was Kentucky Tavern trying to mimic S-W's OF with this wheater and the "Aristocrat" theme?

Both Kentucky Tavern and Rebel Yell were owned by UDV, the same as Old Fitz and Weller, so I wouldn't call it mimicking, so much as just using what you have on hand. While the Kentucky Tavern name goes back to the late 1800's, it wasn't part of UD until 1991. In '96 is was listed as a wheated bourbon (Regan). The New Bernhiem distillery was opened in 1992 and the big sell off was in '99.

cowdery
02-21-2010, 09:34
Kentucky Tavern was only a wheater for a very brief period long after the brand's heyday and the sale of Glenmore (and KT) to UDV. KT also briefly became a Kentucky Whiskey in some markets.

People keep trying to identify KT as a wheater, which is incorrect. It's a venerable, old, rye-recipe bourbon that briefly experimented with wheat, sort of like being gay in college.

Buffalo Trace recently began its first push on 1792 since acquiring Tom Moore, but otherwise they've been pretty quiet about the future of that distillery and its products.

CorvallisCracker
02-21-2010, 10:33
Buffalo Trace recently began its first push on 1792...

Marketing? Change in recipe?

barturtle
02-21-2010, 12:34
Kentucky Tavern was only a wheater for a very brief period long after the brand's heyday and the sale of Glenmore (and KT) to UDV. KT also briefly became a Kentucky Whiskey in some markets.

People keep trying to identify KT as a wheater, which is incorrect. It's a venerable, old, rye-recipe bourbon that briefly experimented with wheat, sort of like being gay in college.


The question is: when? Let's say that it became a wheater when UDV bought it in 1991 (assuming that's just what UDV had in excess to fill the label), it was still listed as such in '96 in Regan's book, did it remain as such until UDV (then Diagio) sold it off? Jerry Dalton (then at Barton, later at Beam) was quite evasive after the purchase as to whether they were making products with different mashbills, his answer was a begrudging "possibly" according to World Whiskey Guide, Murray 2000.

cowdery
02-21-2010, 21:57
It was in that neighborhood. Not before 1992, and Gary was researching his book mostly in 1995, so that's approximately the time frame. Barton bought Kentucky Tavern in 1995 and Jerry Dalton left in 1998, so Jerry might not have known everything that was going on. Barton about doubled its portfolio in that 1995 transaction. Jerry probably had his hands full.

Since Barton acquired whiskey as part of the deal, they may have been putting Stitzel-Weller whiskey into KT and other brands, since they didn't own any legitimate wheaters themselves. That's also when they acquired the bottling and warehousing facility in Owensboro. I'm not sure what was in those warehouses at that time, though it may have been whiskey made in Owensboro at Medley. UDV had sold that distillery to Charles Medley and may have moved all the whiskey across town to Glenmore. That would not have been wheated bourbon.

As crazy as it is to imagine, Barton got whiskey in the deal and if some of it was from Stitzel-Weller, as it may well have been, Barton would not have had any particular use for it.

On the other hand, why would the deal have had to include SW whiskey? UDV owned both Medley and SW, and both were producing, at least occasionally, until Bernheim came on line in 1992, so UDV had access to both rye-recipe and wheated bourbon in every season. Somehow, I guess they wound up with excess SW at some point and put some of it in KT, but that was not a long term thing.

My thesis is that the only reason for either company to suddenly make KT a wheater would be because they had excess SW stock and needed to use it somewhere.

But there is no reason they should have had excess wheated stock. From 1992 to 1999, UDV was producing both wheated and rye-recipe bourbon at Bernheim so, again, there's no reason they would have had excess wheated bourbon for anything other than a brief period, i.e., a production planning hiccup that maybe lasted a year or two.

CorvallisCracker
03-20-2010, 17:26
Just did the current VSOF as Vbt #257. I thought it was pretty good. Sometime soon I may do a 3-way comparison with Lot B and Weller 12 (as I have those on hand as well).

T Comp
03-20-2010, 21:54
Just did the current VSOF as Vbt #257. I thought it was pretty good. Sometime soon I may do a 3-way comparison with Lot B and Weller 12 (as I have those on hand as well).

Please do! I have plenty of Lot B and Weller 12 but the current VSOF is actually hard to find on shelves in these parts. I have seen more BHC VSOF than current VSOF, and no wonder, as that juice is just bad, even if from DSP 16. Perplexing to me, is that the last of the DSP 16 juice in Old Fitz BIB (the bottled at DSP 24 stuff) is far superior to the BHC VSOF. Must be those extra years in the wood, which did its job by turning it into wood.

cowdery
03-22-2010, 20:56
Back to the original question and without conceding the premise, the reality is that Heaven Hill doesn't care about Old Fitzgerald. Let me explain what I mean by that. Producers have different priorities for different brands. Old Fitzgerald has a standing market and Heaven Hill is satisfied with that. They aren't investing marketing dollars to build the brand up. Now plenty of companies do spend marketing dollars and don't necessarily try to make the whiskey the best it can be, but you can bet that a company that is basically harvesting a brand, not investing in it, probably has a "good enough" attitude about the quality too.

bwh1927
05-30-2010, 22:38
I did not know this until I took a tour of Heaven Hill last summer, but, since the Heaven Hill Distillery burned down a few years ago....all of their distilling is at the Old Fitz distillery in Louisville. I do not think that there is an actual Berheim Distillery. I don't like the Louisville Bourbons because of the water. It is the limestone water that is key to a good bourbon and I just think that Louisville City water (though it may still be limestone) is not the same as for the rural distilleries.
Soon the other Heaven Hill products distilled in Louisville will begin to be bottled.....I am waiting to see if there is a difference.
Baron Hagan, Daviess County, Kentucky.


GOD MADE IRISHMEN TO MAKE SURE SOMEONE DISCOVERED WHISKY. GOD MAY KENTUCKY TO MAKE SURE SOMEONE DISCOVERED BOURBON.

bwh1927
05-30-2010, 22:50
About Kentucky Tavern. Mly father was a distiller at Glenmore Distilleries in Daviess County Kentucky, until that distillery was close in the 1980's. Kentucky Tavern was the principle label of the Yellowstone/Glenmore Line.
The KT label was purchased by Old Mr. Boston. OMB sold the KT label to a company whose name I can not remember. That company quit the KT bourbon label and made KT a blended bourbon. Because OKT was and is a very popular brand in Kentucky, there was such an uproar that Barton Brands bought the label and Distillery 24 in Daviess County and reestablished the KT brand as a premium straight bourbon.
KENTUCKY TAVERN is considered to be a classic 4yo 80proof bourbon and is in the well of a great number bars and taverns. It is what I keep as my everyday table whiskey.
Baron Hagan, Daviess County, Kentucky

p_elliott
05-31-2010, 07:49
I did not know this until I took a tour of Heaven Hill last summer, but, since the Heaven Hill Distillery burned down a few years ago....all of their distilling is at the Old Fitz distillery in Louisville. I do not think that there is an actual Berheim Distillery. I don't like the Louisville Bourbons because of the water. It is the limestone water that is key to a good bourbon and I just think that Louisville City water (though it may still be limestone) is not the same as for the rural distilleries.
Soon the other Heaven Hill products distilled in Louisville will begin to be bottled.....I am waiting to see if there is a difference.
Baron Hagan, Daviess County, Kentucky.


GOD MADE IRISHMEN TO MAKE SURE SOMEONE DISCOVERED WHISKY. GOD MAY KENTUCKY TO MAKE SURE SOMEONE DISCOVERED BOURBON.

The old Fitz distillery formally known as Stilzer -Weller closed in 1992 and has never reopened. Bernheim is a real distillery purchased by HH after the fire.

boone
05-31-2010, 11:00
Soon the other Heaven Hill products distilled in Louisville will begin to be bottled.....I am waiting to see if there is a difference.


:grin: :grin: We've bottled Bernheim DSP #1 (the distillery for Heaven Hill) for quite some time now. Especially the Old Fitz green--100 proof and gold--80 proof. The fire was over a decade ago (November, 1996) :grin: :grin: :grin:

cowdery
05-31-2010, 12:43
Heaven Hill bought the Old Fitzgerald brand and the Bernheim Distillery from Diageo in 1999. Diageo also owns the old Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Shively, which it uses for aging but not distilling.

The two facilities are several miles apart. Bernheim is in Louisville, adjacent to the Brown-Forman headquarters campus. It consists of a distillery and several large masonry warehouses. A distillery has stood on that site for more than a century. It picked up the name after Prohibition. It is named for Issac Wolfe Bernheim, maker of I. W. Harper bourbon, although he was no longer in the picture by then. It has been known by that name ever since, through several subsequent owners.

The current distillery there was built in 1991-92. After 1999, Heaven Hill made major modifications.

Every drop of Old Fitzgerald made since Stitzel-Weller closed in 1992 has come from the Bernheim Distillery.

When Buffalo Trace bought the W. L. Weller brand in 1999, it obtained wheated bourbon made at Stitzel-Weller and Bernheim. Virtually all of the Stitzel-Weller stock has been depleted. Since the Bernheim stock is now between 11 and 18 years old, a lot of the older Weller and Van Winkle whiskey you buy today is Bernheim-made. Buffalo Trace itself made some wheated bourbon during that period, but not much. Any Weller products younger than 11 years old, such as Weller Special Reserve, are likely 100 percent Buffalo Trace, while anything older is likely some combination of the two.

Even though Old Fitzgerald is the bigger brand, its reputation suffers from the fact that its primary expression, the gold label Prime, is NAS (so likely just four years old) and 80° proof, while Weller's primary expression, Wellers Special Reserve, is seven years old and 90° proof. Maker's Mark, the other wheated bourbon on the market, is also a little older and higher proof than Fitz.

There is a twelve year old Fitz, the Very Special, but it's not widely available. Heaven Hill really needs to do some tinkering with the Old Fitzgerald line. Perhaps a 100° proof eight year old?

MrAtomic
05-31-2010, 13:10
Chuck, just want to thank you for your last post, which clarified a pretty confusing (to me, at least) chain of events.

ErichPryde
05-31-2010, 14:49
If HH put out an 8 year old 100 proof Fitzgerald and put some good whiskey in the bottle and some fancy swirls ON the bottle, I think it would have a chance.

Gillman
05-31-2010, 15:11
Given everything Chuck said, it is my view, as one who buys all the expressions mentioned, that Old Fitzgerald is much improved in recent years. I am not sure what has made it better, or what would make it better yet, but it is not as thin and astringent as I found it some years ago. The VSOF 12 year old in particular is very nice with a marked estery note. I am not sure again what is needed to get these back to fighting form (DSP 16-era that is). Aging is probably one factor. Another might be barrel entry proof, perhaps yeast plays a role, hard to say. But anyone who can find current VSOF 12 would agree I think this is excellent bourbon worth the price asked.

Gary

cowdery
05-31-2010, 23:36
As I have written elsewhere, the current excellence of Van Winkle Lot B, which cannot possibly still be Stitzel-Weller whiskey, convinces me it is possible to produce wheated bourbon as well as Stitzel-Weller did somewhere else. I also consider the Weller SR and 12 to be superb, if perhaps not quite in Lot B's league.

marco246
06-01-2010, 13:05
Wish I had taken time to consult the board before buying a bottle of Old Fitzgerald's 1849 from a store in KY and then having it shipped all the way to Hawaii. I like wheaters and also have a Will Rogers-like philosophy regarding bourbon: "I never met a bourbon I didn't like." So I didn't think I could go very far wrong.

Well, I've met one now: 1849. It is insipid. I won't drink it and don't want to mix it with other whiskey. A blending would just produce even more swill. Think I'll just reserve it for the occasional undiscriminating guest who wants a bourbon and coke.

Heaven Hill help me, I also bought a bottle of VSOF 12 at the same time. I'm almost afraid to open it.

Gillman
06-01-2010, 13:36
Some comments gathered on HH's BHC website on VSOF 12:

http://www.bourbonheritagecenter.com/site/bourbons/old-fitzgerald-12.html

BourbonJoe
06-01-2010, 13:40
As I have written elsewhere, the current excellence of Van Winkle Lot B, which cannot possibly still be Stitzel-Weller whiskey, convinces me it is possible to produce wheated bourbon as well as Stitzel-Weller did somewhere else. I also consider the Weller SR and 12 to be superb, if perhaps not quite in Lot B's league.

The last Lot B I had in a tasting lost to Elijah Craig 12 y/o. I doubt it is as good as you describe.
Joe :usflag:

CaptainQ
06-01-2010, 14:00
The last Lot B I had in a tasting lost to Elijah Craig 12 y/o. I doubt it is as good as you describe.
Joe :usflag::skep: :shocked:

DeanSheen
06-01-2010, 14:37
The last Lot B I had in a tasting lost to Elijah Craig 12 y/o. I doubt it is as good as you describe.
Joe :usflag:

Wow. Which tasting was that?

I believe it's possible but seems improbable.

nor02lei
06-01-2010, 15:49
The last Lot B I had in a tasting lost to Elijah Craig 12 y/o. I doubt it is as good as you describe.
Joe :usflag:

A good bottle of EC12 would beat out any lot B to me as well Joe.

Leif

Gillman
06-01-2010, 16:17
Yes, but it's wheater vs. rye-recipe, I think that should be factored because no matter how good a wheater is, rye recipe usually is more interesting. (Source: Bourbon, Straight, and he's right).

Gary

nor02lei
06-02-2010, 01:23
Yes, but it's wheater vs. rye-recipe, I think that should be factored because no matter how good a wheater is, rye recipe usually is more interesting. (Source: Bourbon, Straight, and he's right).

Gary

I do only partly agree Gary. I do believe there is a bigger difference in stile and flavours among rye recipe bourbons than wheaters, but I don’t consider them better for that sake. I do consider WLW my favourite bourbon although the stile and flavours varies a bit between vintages.

Leif

Gillman
06-02-2010, 03:47
Well, taste does vary, to be sure.

I was comparing too bourbons of today, in the same quality class, as I think you could say for Lot B and EC 12.

Gary

p_elliott
06-02-2010, 09:00
I'm a rye bourbon fan for the most part but of the two I would take Lot B over EC12 anytime but then again I would take just about any bourbon over EC12.

Gillman
06-02-2010, 09:14
I would suggest in a blind tasting, the EC 12 would come out on top generally, because as a ryed bourbon, it simply has more impact than a non-ryed bourbon. This is not to say people familiar with both may not prefer the Lot B over the other but in a blind tasting, which is what Joe was talking about I believe, I can see that the EC 12 might win out. All wheaters are milder than rye bourbons in the same general class anyway.

Gary

funknik
06-02-2010, 09:19
I have seen more BHC VSOF than current VSOF, and no wonder, as that juice is just bad, even if from DSP 16.

What?!?!

I have heard many say that the current VSOF is an abonimation, but never the other way around. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

I'm defensive of the BHC VSOF because it's dear to my heart and I find it to be a tremendous whiskey, but still . . . I did a head-to-head of the
S-W VSOF 12 vs. the Bernheim with some whiskey people I rank as better tasters than myself and it was a unanimous vote that the BHC was something special and the Bernheim was fairly pedestrian.

I've also had it side-by-side with an Old Fitz BIB from the early 90's and found it superior in every way (except maybe proof :grin: ). Bottled in '95 has to put the VSOF as distilled around '83 . . . as I said, I am biased on this one, but I'm very surprised to hear it described as "bad". Specifically what about it offends you?

Ok -- just had to get that one out of my system. :lol:

funknik
06-02-2010, 09:25
1849. It is insipid. I won't drink it and don't want to mix it with other whiskey. A blending would just produce even more swill. Think I'll just reserve it for the occasional undiscriminating guest who wants a bourbon and coke.
I hated this one -- could not agree with you more -- worst money I ever spent on bourbon.

MikeK
06-02-2010, 10:50
I hated this one -- could not agree with you more -- worst money I ever spent on bourbon.

I got serious about Whiskey a number of years back right about the time 1849 went from an 8yo to NAS. There was an intermediate bottle that had an 'aged in wood' sticker on it too. It was remarkable to sample the progression of the 3 bottlings and see the epic decrease in goodness.

Very sad. I cherish, and will enjoy, the last bottle or two of good 1849 I still have in the bunker.

funknik
06-02-2010, 10:56
I got serious about Whiskey a number of years back right about the time 1849 went from an 8yo to NAS. There was an intermediate bottle that had an 'aged in wood' sticker on it too. It was remarkable to sample the progression of the 3 bottlings and see the epic decrease in goodness.

Very sad.
Funny you should mention that . . . when I picked up my bottle, I made sure to get the intermediate one that claimed "aged in wood" (from '04), rather than the current ones on the shelf. I'll say this: If the current stuff is more of a disaster than that "aged in wood" bottling, then heaven help the poor bastard who crosses its path.

Gillman
06-02-2010, 11:03
Interesting to see such negative comments. I've bought a number of these over the years (not just the hard-to-find VSOF 12) and find them better than 10 years ago. Also, you have to relate them to bourbons in a similar age and price class. The quality may not be what it was when produced at DSP 16 but they are not premium-priced either. They are good solid bourbon IMO, worth the money asked.

Just to be a bit more specific, in inexpensive bourbon, sometimes you find fuselly notes, or too much corn oil (same thing really). I do not find this with the Fitzgerald brands. They have a good clean taste albeit not a rich one generally.

Gary

funknik
06-02-2010, 11:12
Gary,
I'm not into bashing bourbon labels for fun and I agree with you that context is everything . . . still, I think that for a sub-$20 wheated bourbon, you can do much better (and usually cheaper) than Old Fitz (WLWSR, OWA, hell, even HH distilled Rebel Yell) . . . Old Fitz is not sold in these parts aside from the VSOF (which I think is fine, but not as good as W12, incidentally), so I can't comment on the BIB, but they do seem to have the corner of the market on that: as far as I know it's still the only wheated BIB.

rocky480
06-02-2010, 11:14
It's interesting to me to read the different comments on OF.

My experience with the wide variety of bourbon out there is very limited compared to many people on here, and the only OF I've tried is a current version of the OFBIB. I know taste is an individual thing, but I've tried this one a few times, and I honestly don't know how I'll be able to finish the bottle. Maybe mine is just a bad one, but the bourbon basically overpowers and kills my sense of taste as soon as I sip it. It's a blast of an acidic wood taste that I just can't get past. Everything past that is just the heat from the alcohol. Adding a little water or a lot of water just took away the heat and left the awful taste. I haven't tried ice, but I'm not optimistic.

Since it's not too expensive, I'll probably try to find another bottle from a different retailer, sometime, but if this is any indication of what I can expect from OF, then none of the current versions will be on my bar.

Mike

Gillman
06-02-2010, 12:08
Well, Weller Special Reserve and OWA really are the only competitors in terms of class and price. I'll have to do a comparative tasting when I next get the chance! I was thinking too though of young rye-recipe bourbons, some even 3 years old, which sell for about the same as the basic Fitzgerald labels, I'd rate the latter over those. Always been a fan though of OWA and Special Reserve, good stuff.

Gary

marco246
06-02-2010, 15:21
Summoned the courage to open my new bottle of VSOF 12 last night and was vastly relieved to find not just a drinkable whiskey but a very good one, too. Hard to believe it is the same juice as 1849, except aged an additional 8 years. This goes some way toward ameliorating my disappointment with HH in their having produced such a weak specimen (1849) presumably for the bottom shelf. Anyway, I like the VSOF a little better than MM, which is my benchmark bourbon.

Josh
06-02-2010, 15:46
Summoned the courage to open my new bottle of VSOF 12 last night and was vastly relieved to find not just a drinkable whiskey but a very good one, too. Hard to believe it is the same juice as 1849, except aged an additional 8 years. This goes some way toward ameliorating my disappointment with HH in their having produced such a weak specimen (1849) presumably for the bottom shelf. Anyway, I like the VSOF a little better than MM, which is my benchmark bourbon.

1849 used to be 8 y/o, and was really good value bourbon then, by all accounts. But as I said up thread, I accidently bought a recent NAS bottle and it was, frankly, wretched.

Stu
06-02-2010, 16:06
I don't know whether I've got weird taste or if I've been lucky and had nothing but older bottlings of OF, but its one of my favorite wheaters. I also like MM and the van Winkle line better than the Weller line. I'm still not good at reading the bottom of bottles, so I may have had all old bottles. Maybe it's because I drink malt a lot, but I find my taste differs from the consensus a lot of times (Example: I love Basil Hayden).

cowdery
06-02-2010, 21:35
To each his own.

I love wheaters. Always have. Never really had a bad one. Take it back. Never had a bad one that wasn't in either a Rebel Yell or Cabin Still bottle.

Which, by the way, I love the name "Cabin Still" for a bourbon. Don't know why. Just do.

But I've never had a bottle of any Fitzgerald, Weller, or Maker's Mark that I couldn't drink.

Your mileage may vary.

T Comp
06-02-2010, 22:13
Originally Posted by T Comp http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/red2black/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?p=200557#post200557)
I have seen more BHC VSOF than current VSOF, and no wonder, as that juice is just bad, even if from DSP 16.


What?!?!

I have heard many say that the current VSOF is an abonimation, but never the other way around. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.


I'm defensive of the BHC VSOF because it's dear to my heart and I find it to be a tremendous whiskey, but still . . . I did a head-to-head of the
S-W VSOF 12 vs. the Bernheim with some whiskey people I rank as better tasters than myself and it was a unanimous vote that the BHC was something special and the Bernheim was fairly pedestrian.

I've also had it side-by-side with an Old Fitz BIB from the early 90's and found it superior in every way (except maybe proof :grin: ). Bottled in '95 has to put the VSOF as distilled around '83 . . . as I said, I am biased on this one, but I'm very surprised to hear it described as "bad". Specifically what about it offends you?

Ok -- just had to get that one out of my system. :lol:

Andy, All right maybe some hyperbole on my part but if not bad it still disappoints. I just re tasted it and still find it towards the bottom of the post 1980 SW (or DSP 16 or Old Fitzgerald Distillery or W.L. Weller and Sons Louisville) offerings. It teases with the classic no doubt about it SW nose and initial enticing up front taste but then vanishes into thin air. Mid palate and finishing taste is just way too short, woody and acidic for me. Considering its price and age I expected more. It is also my least favorite of the BHC collection. That all said I may still pick up another bottle and see if another batch is better.

MikeK
06-03-2010, 08:29
As I have written elsewhere, the current excellence of Van Winkle Lot B, which cannot possibly still be Stitzel-Weller whiskey, convinces me it is possible to produce wheated bourbon as well as Stitzel-Weller did somewhere else. I also consider the Weller SR and 12 to be superb, if perhaps not quite in Lot B's league.

Chuck,

I haven't had any Lot B in a while. In the past I found it to be good, but a step down from PVW-15, and for similar money. Do you find the current Lot B to be even better over recent years? And if so, are you raving about the current year release, or the past few years in general? (I find each years VW products vary noticibly in taste, so I always reference the bottle date code to buy the batches I like better)

Thanks!

cowdery
06-03-2010, 16:00
If not the current release, then the just previous one. All bottles from Binny's. Not dusties. Definitely current production. And they're just terrific. They are every bit as good as the Stitzel-Wellers I have, both SW Lot B and other SW.

Your mileage may vary.

ratcheer
06-04-2010, 06:11
Which, by the way, I love the name "Cabin Still" for a bourbon. Don't know why. Just do.



The old-time Cabin Still label was a commercial art masterpiece, too. I used to just look at it and daydream of the time and place it depicted.

I don't think I ever drank the whiskey, though.

Tim

unclebunk
06-04-2010, 09:37
If not the current release, then the just previous one. All bottles from Binny's. Not dusties. Definitely current production. And they're just terrific. They are every bit as good as the Stitzel-Wellers I have, both SW Lot B and other SW.



That's good news and should spark a few Lot B purchases among this crowd.:grin:

callmeox
06-04-2010, 12:46
If not the current release, then the just previous one. All bottles from Binny's. Not dusties. Definitely current production. And they're just terrific. They are every bit as good as the Stitzel-Wellers I have, both SW Lot B and other SW.

Your mileage may vary.

IIRC, these were the first Lot B bottlings with the .01 on the label part number. This signified the new self adhesive label which actually rides a little lower on the bottle than the label without the .01 on the part number.

The bottles that I have opened all had a wonderful cherry cordial quality to them.

The code printed on the glass is K1130807:07. Depending on how you parse that out, they were bottled in January or November of 08. So, are they Summer of 08 or Spring of 09?

Either way, I know that they were com the initial batch of the new label type.

Josh
06-04-2010, 15:10
Since I started this thing, I figured I better give it another shot.

When I started, Old Fitz BiB was by far my favorite of the current products.

But thanks to Gary, and some others, I picked up a bottle of the current VSOF.

When I opened it, I was a little scared. I was assualted by a sharp ethyl alcohol smell, like an old medicine cabinet. After I poured some into my HH Glencairn, the sharpness dissipated.

The nose transforms into something really great. For whatever reason, it makes me think of Christmas. Lots of spice, like an old timey hard sauce for pouring over plum pudding or mincemeat pie. Although I gave up on brandy years ago, it reminds me a lot of cognac on the palate. A really rich drink.

It bears little resemblence to any S-W I've had, for sure, but it's still a damn good whiskey.

I still think the 1849 and Prime are shite tho.:lol: