‘New’ Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond is older, bolder than ever

by steve on February 19, 2018

Anyone like me kicking themselves for not shelving a few Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond (BIB) handles last year?

Anyone else gnaw their nails as one of the market’s best bargains disappeared from store shelves thinking, “Oh, they’ll resupply soon, right? Right?”

When soon never came, sad filled in the void, but at least it hinted that something new was in the offing. Today we know what that is.

In a press release, Bardstown, Ky.-based Heaven Hill Distillery announced a new and limited-edition series of Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. To match the BIB distilling and bottling seasons, biannual releases will happen each spring and fall—double the opportunities to be freezing or fanning while standing in line at your fave liquor store!

It’s still good ol’ wheated Old Fitzgerald, but “old” becomes the operative word here, as this first release spent 11 years in the barrel, seven years beyond the BIB minimum of four. Try not to drool imagining the flavor amplification.

After the ornate decanter, price will be the next thing that captures drinkers’ attention: MSRP of $110, roughly six times the coin commanded for the long-standing, lower-shelf-dwelling, plastic-capped version that made the softest of sippers and most excellent Gold Rush cocktails.

Why the shift from daily drinker to premium pricing, you ask?

Because Heaven Hill can and should. It’s called good business.

The independent, family owned distillery has more than 1.3 million barrels of whiskey aging in 55 rickhouses scattered across God’s Country, so you needn’t a calculator or calendar to figure out that Heaven Hill has loads of old inventory available.

According to the company’s website, past master distiller Parker Beam convinced the company to stay the course and keep making liquor amid bourbon’s doldrum years (Hard to imagine that being a thing, right?) So, when you have such supply, you can pivot to market conditions with ease, and as the market has made clear, American brown spirits fans will pay big bucks for wheated bourbon.

This first release is comprised of barrels filled in February through May of 2006; they’ll be bottled in April of 2018, which makes for another reason to love spring.

As we’ve seen in the past several years, gorgeous glass denotes class in the booze world, and this package is an eye catcher. This first bottle was inspired by an original 1950’s Old Fitzgerald diamond decanter, and according to the release, “features the time-honored graphic of a key, commemorating an important element in original labels and the brand’s slogan since the 1940’s, ‘Your key to hospitality.’ Kentucky’s state seal and a prominent brand banner replicate a pre-Prohibition label. Spring editions will be denoted with a green label and fall editions with a black label. The age will change with each edition and will also be indicated on the bottom of the label.”

The Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond Series will be available in the 750ml size on an allocated basis each spring and fall throughout the next five years.

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