Today we are sitting out on the screened-in porch smoking cigars and enjoying what we think is one of the best bottom shelf Bourbons on the market, Old Fitzgerald Prime. This name is one of the oldest in Bourbon, going back to 1870. Old Fitz is also tied to some legendary names in the Bourbon business.
John E. Fitzgerald first made the stuff then sold it to Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle, yeah that Pappy Van Winkle, who tweaked the recipe by replacing the rye with wheat as the second ingredient after corn.
For years it was produced by Stitzel-Weller Distillery, another legend in Bourbon lore. Also owned by Diageo, and now Heaven Hill.
It sells around $13 to $14, and is bottled at 86 proof. We could not determine an age and it comes in a screw top bottle.
Todd: The nose, to me, screamed butterscotch/toffee and a little bit of fruit.
Ron: I got a nose that reminded me of a bowl of vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce and some kind of fruit topping.
Todd: Tasting neat it comes through as one of the sweetest Bourbons I have ever sipped. I could taste the toffee and the butterscotch, but not as strong as I smelled it. Also got a little woodsy and fruit flavors, but not real strong. In fact nothing really jumped out as a dominant flavor. Just real smooth. Adding ice/water really didn’t do much for me. I did like the chill the ice brought, but as for the taste, it just diluted everything.
Ron: It tasted pretty close to what I smelled with the addition of butterscotch and a little citrus. I really enjoyed it neat. Adding water just diminished all the flavors.
Todd: It finishes sweet, short and with not much flavor change.
Ron: The finish was a somewhat long and sweet.
Todd: Good stuff, would be a good Bourbon to use those Whiskey stones instead of ice.
Ron: Very good, especially considering the price.
Nose 4 out of 5
Taste 7.75 out of 10
Finish 2.25 out of 5
Total Score 14 out of 20 Barrels
Since we dink a lot of Bourbon we are always on the look out for a less expensive way to feed our habit. If you like wheated bourbon, this stuff is a steal. We really can’t think of anything at that price point that taste near as good or is as smooth.
If our go to Bourbon under $20 is Weller’s Special Reserve, our go to under $15 is Old Fitz. At this price it can be used as a mixer, though we might shy away from Manhattans or old fashions due to lack of complexity and sweetness.
Bottom line is that for $13, you just can’t beat this.
In fact, it’s so cheap we are enjoying a third glass.