Very Special Old Fitzgerald has always been a sentimental favorite of mine. Back in my days as archivist for United Distillers, this is one of the brands I helped develop for the Bourbon Heritage Collection. The brand was sold to Heaven Hill in the late 1990s but they have done a good job keeping the flavor profile close to the original release. Old Fitzgerald Bourbons have always had a reputation as excellent whiskeys. It was the flagship brand at Stitzel-Weller Distillery and was made with wheat instead of rye as the flavoring grain. This gives the Bourbon a softer flavor and allows the vanillas and caramels from the wood to come through in the Bourbon.

Very Special Old Fitzgerald

Proof: 90

Age: 12 years old

Nose: Caramel apple and pecans with a hint of chocolate. As it breathes it gets richer in the chocolate and caramel aromas.

Taste: Sweet ripe apple and caramel with some pecan, oak and baking spices. After tasting a dried cranberry the apple fruit comes forward with a bit of vanilla custard sweetness. A bite of pecan makes the Bourbon a little drier with lots of oak and a note of chocolate.

Finish: Starts sweet but dries out with some nice oak and a hint of pepper spice. The cranberry makes the finish very brandy-like with fruit and oak. The pecan really dries out the finish with lots of oak but not as much pepper.

This is an excellent book Bourbon. Serve yourself a healthy pour and sit down with a good book, tasting the Bourbon every 15 minutes or so. It will change as it breathes getting richer in caramel and chocolate notes. It also goes great with a cigar. I chose a Punch Vintage cigar for this Bourbon and found they played well together with the cigar bringing out the chocolate notes in the Bourbon and the Bourbon making the cigar a little spicier in a good way.

Photos Courtesy of Michael Veach