The first bonded Old Fitzgerald release for 2022 is here, and it’s an old one: At 17 years of age, it’s the oldest Old Fitz in the series to date, the next oldest being a 16 year old that was only made available at Heaven Hill’s distillery in 2020.
At 17 years of age, I came into this experience expecting a huge punch of woody barrel char, but was surprised to find things designed surprisingly to the contrary. The nose is sharp, heavy with notes of cherry and an intense perfume character, with a racy-spicy sweetness that makes me think of Pop Rocks. The palate is again incredibly sweet to the point where I’d say it’s sugary. Again, it’s wholly unexpected given this whiskey’s age, and difficult to parse, with notes of pie crust, custard, and intense sesame — like a dessert you might get at a dim sum restaurant. There’s a perfumed, floral element here that turns a bit soapy as it throws out notes of vanilla en route to the finish, where touches of jasmine and lilac linger. Again, the conclusion is intense with sweetness, granulated sugar notes threatening to send you straight to the dentist.
A much different whiskey than Old Fitz has been putting out lately, and while I’m all for change, something here has gone a little wonky.
B / $85 / heavenhill.com