View Full Version : Very Special Old Fitzgerald

02-22-2001, 12:02
I recently ordered a bottle of vsof and it was CRAP! At least i still have six good bottles left all with the same label bottling number.This new bottle of course has a different # and also looks a little darker, hotter finish and has a vegetal smell and taste of which I can not stand.previously reading the forum about H-H taking over the recipe i was wondering if this was theirs.I don't mean to offend them or anyone because i do like the Elija Craig 12 and Evan williams 1990. Hope this is just only one bad bottle because this is my very favorite drink. VSOF - then V VOF and finally OF-BIB. guess i'm addicted to
OLD FITZGERALD and some other wheated bourbons. LIFE IS GOOD. - Den

02-22-2001, 18:22
Sorry to hear about your bad experience with VSOF. It too is one of my favorites.

Have you tried David Nicholson 1843? It's a bonded 7-year old, distilled by Old Fitzgerald, bottled and distributed by David Sherman (of St. Louis). It's pretty easy to find in Missouri. From the bourbons you mentioned, I think you'll like the DN 1843. It runs about $14 to $15 a bottle.


02-22-2001, 20:18
Thanks Bill, the 1843 is pretty good but imho the Ol-Fitz BIB is alot better.
This is the 1st time i've had a bad bottle of VSOF. I bought 2 - 1.75 liters of OF-BIB that had a woody taste or barrel tones about 3-mos ago and finally was able to drink them up after diluting with various mixers of which i hate to mix any good bourbon or whisky, even with ice or water.I've been drinking bad,good and even some great bottlings since i was 12yrs old and imo, this is the good times or golden age as they say. life is good! Den

02-24-2001, 22:16
VSOF 12-year-old would have to have been distilled in or before 1989. United Distillers didn't start production at Bernheim until 1993, so not only was your bottle not produced by Heaven Hill (who purchased Bernheim in 1999), but it was actually made at Stitzel-Weller, same as any other VSOF you may have had. What number are you talking about? If it's the tiny number in the lower right corner of the label, it should begin with "16" (Stitzel-Weller is DSP-16). When the Bernheim-distilled VSOF's hit the market (not before 2005), the number should begin with "01". I'd take the bottle back to where you bought and exchange it. Chances are it's something to do with that particular bottle.

Even though OF-BIB is only supposed to be 4 - 5 years old, up until very recently, the labels have all stated it was distilled at DSP-16 (Stitzel-Weller) and bottled at DSP-24 (the bottling plant at Glenmore in Owensboro). New bottles are now labelled showing it to be distilled at Bernheim (DSP-01) and bottled at Heaven Hill (DSP-31). This bourbon wasn't made by Heaven Hill, though; it was UD product made before 1999. Heaven Hill has gone through some pains to improve and "humanize" the distilling process at Bernheim, so their version of Old Fitz should be even better.


02-25-2001, 13:08
Thanks John for all the info, I should have engaged my brain before my fingers. It could have been the bourbon, anyway thats what i'm going to blame it on or my poor math skills.All my other bottles have SL 16.905.01.00 like you said and also have the bourbon heritage collection label .this new bottle doesn't have this B H C label, just a label with very special written all over it.In the lower r/h corner of the label,it doesn't have 16,it has only OW76892 and i am thinking about taking this $30 bottle of crap back. also was wondering why H-H products have that vegetal, mothball or whatever smell and taste especially the younger bottlings. Like I said, the evan-williams 1990 bottle sure is good but the wheated bourbons is what i prefer and of course Dickel#12. You people sure are knowledgeable and all i can do is try to absorb all info along with good bourbon and whisky. LifeIsGood! --Den

02-25-2001, 19:36
That "vegetal, mothboll", camphor quality does describe Heaven Hill all right, especially their young whiskey. It's a trademark, and present in all their bourbon, but it's overpowered by more pleasant aromas and flavors as their bourbon gets up over about seven years. Parker and Craig Beam's selections have a lot to do with it, too. I don't taste it at all in 10-year-old Evan Williams Single Barrel, and not much in 10-year-old Henry McKenna Single Barrel. But it's sure there in 10-year-old Very Rare Old Heaven Hill, and only about half that strong in 10-year-old Evan Williams 1793.

Okay, Boone... can you check the label and let us know if that's current HH product? (we didn't get one of those). And just what's in that bottle now?


02-25-2001, 22:03
The new bottled in bond Label does not say Very Special Old Fitzgerald. It is just Old Fitzgerald written diagonally across the front.

Please tell me the bar code numbers, DSP #, Julian date and bottled by, this will help me answer where it came from.


02-26-2001, 14:18
This VSOF bottle -12yrs -90 proof has this # in the R/H bottom corner of the front label, it is -- O W 76892 and the neck label has very special written all over it with no mention of bourbon heritage collection,but the bottle shape is the same tho. On the back label it has this #--S L 27.905.01.00 and this on the upc label--0--88076-22640--1--which is exactly the same as my other bottles of VSOF. THANKS boone, john or whoever can help with this query and please excuse my poor typing and english skills.---life is good--Den.

02-27-2001, 11:07
The VSOF bottle of bourbon that you have was not bottled at Heaven Hill.


03-04-2001, 04:55
Thanks Boone. After browsing the history postings, I am amazed at your ancestery . Very fine Family Tree if i may say so. Life is good.--Den

03-04-2001, 05:16
Forgot to mention where i read about Boones ancestry.
history-o-page under Distilling wall of fame on 12-28 00 if inquiring minds want to know. Life is good.-Den

03-07-2001, 00:47
You should take the bottle back where you got it and ask for another one. Sometimes things can go wrong in the bottling process. Example; You are running
Blackberry Brandy and the next order is for BIB 100 proof Bourbon. You have to wash the lines out. First, with extremely hot water then cold and run a bottle for each stem. The line now has some water in it. To rid the line of water you circulate on a big tank of 90 proof (the tank should be nearly full) a small amount of water will not affect it. Now you have 90 proof in the line. You circulate on the 100 proof, pump it all back into the tank and check the proof. Most of the time its ok but sometimes the proof comes up a little low. Then the processor has to "bring it up" to how many points you need-(which is adding pure grain to it). Then recirculate and check proof again. We use to go from water directly circulated on 100 proof but it came up low too many times. You cannot get all of the water out completely. This is a very time consuming process and sometimes all of the (different) liquid is not completely out of the stems especially the first few bottles. Your bottle might be one of those first few. If I recall correctly you have other bottles of this bourbon that taste just fine. In other words give it another try.


03-07-2001, 19:16
Thanks Boone for the info, and i,ll take your advice about taking that bottle back to where i bought it. thanks alot.-- Den

03-07-2001, 20:05
What a great insight into the bottling process. Nothing is ever simple. Thanks, Boone.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

03-12-2001, 03:51
You mentioned the Heaven Hill products, what causes the unique taste? Someone told me that they add hops to their process is that true? Also i heard that they use cypress rather than oak barrels.

The Man from Missouri

03-12-2001, 10:55
Hi Brother Ray,

No hops in our bourbon, and we use only oak barrels from Kentucky Cooperage. Their (Independent Stave Company) corporate headquarters are in your home state.


03-12-2001, 16:50
I think you are confused with cypress fermenting vats, not barrels.

Mike Veach

03-13-2001, 04:25
I stand corrected. In a bourbon book by the Regan's they said Heaven Hill added hops, but Brenda should know. Still searching for the answer.

The Man from Missouri

03-18-2001, 22:18
This reply does not answer for Heaven Hill.

I must back up several years in my family history for this one. I found in my records a letter dated September 25, 1958. It's my great-uncle Desmond's formula for Jug yeast.


GRAIN 100 lbs.
HOPS 4 lbs.

Boil hops 30 minutes
Hot hop liquor 32 gallons
Mashing temperature 186
Hold 3 hours
Extract liquid cool to 76 gravity 19 - 20
Innoculate using 8 lbs. of Jug Yeast
Jug a 6 gravity
Will make 25 to 26 gallons or 196 to 200 pounds
On Saturdays set Dona at 76 detrees and leave water on coils 18 to 24 hours

You were right about the hops but not a HH.

A letter written to my great-uncle Desmond Beam, Master Distiller from the Smithsonian Institution.

Dear Mr. Beam;

The Smithsonain Institution and the National Park Service are pleased to invite you to participate in the 7th Annual Festival of American Folklife to be held June 30- July 8 (1973) on the National Mall in Washington, D. C., along the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

When we began our field research, we decided to seek out people in Kentucky who are distinctive representatives of grass roots culture. After meeting hundreds of musicians, cooks, craftsmen and taltented skilled men and women throughout the States, we selcted about one hundred and fifty people whom we felt would fairly represent the proud heritages of different national and racial backgrounds. The decisions were difficult to make, but we will have succeeded if individuals like yourself come to Washington and shre your unique experience with your neighbors and countrymen fron around the Nation.

In order to give you a feeling for the Festival we are enclosing a copy of a press release. We want very much to help you personally in any way we can to arrange your participation. Please fill in the enclosed form and return it to us in the enclosed envelope, so that we may begin to make arrangements for your comfort and enjoyment while you are in Washington. As a participant you will receive a fee in addition to all expenses--travel, meals, and housing. If there is anything you would like to discuss, please call.

Wes Wolfe, Chief, Division of Urban and Enviromental Activities of the National Park Service and James Morris, Director of the Division of Performing Arts of the Smithsonian Institution, join me in extending this invitation in the hope that we may have the pleasure of working with you. The Smithsonian Institution is proud to present the Festival, and we will do everything possible to make your stay in Washington an enjoyable and memorable experience for you.

Warmest personal regads,

Ralph C. Rinzler, Director

He went there and set up his still!


03-18-2001, 22:53
Well, folks, I guess Boone's decided she's had enough of pretending she isn't about twenty times more knowledgeable about bourbon affairs that any of the rest of us. I mean any. We all got hints of that from some of her postings, and she sure left Linda & I without any doubts after she showed us around her scrapbook. Thanks, Bettye Jo. I think you've found a venue for bringing your family's contibutions to light, and I'm both happpy and thankful to be able to add you to my list of "heros" that I get to chat with on this forum.