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  1. #1
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    Why isn't Old Fitzgerald better?

    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?
    bibamus, moriendum est
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  2. #2
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    Re: Why isn't Old Fitzgerald better?

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    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

  3. #3
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    Re: Why isn't Old Fitzgerald better?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Boozer View Post
    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.
    bibamus, moriendum est
    Sipology Blog

  4. #4
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    Re: Why isn't Old Fitzgerald better?

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    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?

  5. #5
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    Re: Why isn't Old Fitzgerald better?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Boozer View Post
    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.
    ovh

  6. #6
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    Re: Why isn't Old Fitzgerald better?

    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.
    My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment.
    I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

  7. #7
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    Re: Why isn't Old Fitzgerald better?

    Quote Originally Posted by OscarV View Post
    Yes a hell of a lot more could be done in the wheated bourbon segment.
    Quote Originally Posted by callmeox View Post
    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.
    I completely forgot about MM, I wonder why?
    ovh

  8. #8
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    Re: Why isn't Old Fitzgerald better?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Boozer View Post
    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."
    John B

    "Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."

  9. #9
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    Re: Why isn't Old Fitzgerald better?

    Quote Originally Posted by jburlowski View Post

    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?
    ovh

  10. #10
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    Re: Why isn't Old Fitzgerald better?

    Quote Originally Posted by OscarV View Post
    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.
    bibamus, moriendum est
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