Old Fitzgerald Spring 2023 (10 Year) Bourbon Review

Drink Reviews whiskey
Old Fitzgerald Spring 2023 (10 Year) Bourbon Review

As I’ve often observed when reviewing expressions of Heaven Hill’s Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond Bourbon in the past, the ever-moving age statements of this series are one of its most intriguing quirks. For a single series to contain expressions that range from merely 8 years old, to 19 years or more, while being marketed as the “same bourbon,” is a frankly crazy notion. And yet, Old Fitzgerald also has an odd way of not being particularly defined by each batch’s age statements, because the whiskey inside each of the beautiful decanter bottles doesn’t always seem to directly reflect those age statements the way one might expect it to. There are younger batches of Old Fitz that drink significantly older than they actually are, and vice versa, meaning you’re never truly certain of what you’re going to get, other than the reliable 50% ABV (100 proof), and Heaven Hill’s wheated bourbon mash bill.

The newest expression, Spring 2023, falls on the younger side of the age spectrum at 10 years, though tasting it quickly reveals this to be one of those instances where age seems to be just a number. Consumers will also be glad to note that the younger age makes this a more affordable Old Fitz expression–in theory, anyway. It should be noted that this series has indeed seen something of a price bump, something that was present in the Fall 2022 (19 Year) release, but difficult to say for certain thanks to that age statement being so high. In the past, this series has held more or less to an MSRP of “$10 per year, plus a little extra.” That has meant an MSRP of $85 for the 8-year expression, or $110 for the 11 year expression in 2021. The 19-year-old bottle in Fall 2022, on the other hand, jumped up to an MSRP of $240, making one wonder: Is this just a reflection of the most mature release in the series so far, or an indication that the rough “$10 per year” peg has gone away?

The $140 mark for this 10 year expression seemingly proves the answer is the latter. Although really, this is all theoretical anyway given that most consumers don’t actually have access to limited release bottles like this at MSRP, in our current era of retailer price gouging on whiskey. But it is worth noting. So with that said, let’s get to tasting this latest Old Fitzgerald expression.

On the nose, Spring 2023 opens with a deep nuttiness, a combination of roasted almond butter and lots of sweet oak, more than one would perhaps expect from this being one of the younger entries in the series. I’m getting sweet toffee as well, along with jammy dark fruit evoking berries (boysenberry syrup) and stone fruit like plum. It’s quite a nice nose, hitting multiple elements I tend to like in Old Fitz releases, and I expect that someone trying this without context would probably think it was one of the older expressions in the series rather than one of the younger ones–although in reality, 10 years is still plenty mature for any bourbon.

On the palate, this bottle is giving off tons of sweet oak, along with huge caramel, brown sugar cinnamon, slightly hot ginger and a kiss of woody tartness that for me doesn’t detract from the experience. It follows up with moderately intense roast and mocha tones, fairly sweet, with flourishes of cherry and plum fruit. I’m very much enjoying the interplay between oak, caramelized sugars, spice and fruit here, making for a profile that seems like it has a little something for everyone. The overall effect is delicious, in my opinion.

At the end of the day, regardless of age statement, any given batch of this series has a chance to be a potential stand-out. And Spring 2023 is one of those whiskeys for me.

Distillery: Heaven Hill
City: Bardstown, KY
Style: Straight bourbon whiskey
ABV: 50% (100 proof)
Availability: Limited, 750 ml bottles, $140 MSRP

Jim Vorel is a Paste staff writer and resident brown liquor geek. You can follow him on Twitter for more drink writing.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin