Sunday, October 23, 2016

It Pays To Have Friends

It pays to have friends. I am very fortunate to be friends with David Yamane ( of the great blog Gun Culture 2.0). He was recently in Kentucky touring the Bourbon Trail. Seeing his posts about the trip on Facebook, I messaged him to see if he might find me a bottle of Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond.

As you can see, David came through for me. I had tried to find it when I was in Kentucky earlier this year at the NRA Annual Meeting to no avail. From what I understand, most of the production of bourbon that had been going to the Old Fitzgerald brand is now being saved for Larceny bourbon.

Having read Bernie Lubbers' book Bourbon Whiskey: Our Native Spirit, I have been paying attention to bourbons that are bottled in bond. This tells me that the bourbon is at least four years old, it was distilled in a single season at a single distillery, and that it is 100 proof. As Bernie writes, "In short, the good stuff."

Old Fitzgerald BIB is a wheated bourbon from Heaven Hill. It was originally a Stitzel-Weller brand and the tall chimney at that distillery still says "Old Fitzgerald". While not a top shelf bourbon, it is still considered one of the best values in the wheated bourbon category. I can't wait to give it a try.

Again, my thanks to David for finding this for me.


  1. if you don’t already have a bottle, it’s likely impossible to find, but A. Smith Bowman from Fredericksburg, VA did a wheated, 100 proof bourbon - an “Abraham Bowman” early 2016. that is probably the best I’ve had, and I have over 50 bottles of different bourbon. I heard about Old Fitz on the tour, but did not lay my eyes on a bottle. And you’re right, it pays to have friends ( in. close to, or willing to visit Kentucky ! ). I spied a bottle I had to have on a TV show, purely for the bottle. A friend picked up a bottle of Big Ass Bourbon. It was inexpensive, has a cool label and it’s not bad whiskey.

    Everyone’s big into ‘cask strength’ bourbons now and that’s taken me a while to warm up to, but I can see the attraction.

    At least we are lucky to be alive in today’s bourbon market.

    1. I've got a bottle of Bowman Brothers Small Batch and have seen the John Bowman at our ABC stores. I'll have to keep an eye out for the Abraham Bowman wheated. It is on the NC ABC list but our stores have an allocation program for the more popular bourbons making it a hit or miss proposition.

    2. @US RKBA - In all the years and all the states I've looked, have never seen a bottle of the Abraham Bowman. John J. and Bowman Brothers all over the place, but not the fabled Abraham.

      I did, however, see lots of bottles of Big Ass Bourbon around Lexington and Frankfort.

  2. John is a nice bourbon for sure. The Abrahams are “loosely” released x2 per year, give or take and the best way to keep current on them is the Book of Face. Last one was ... Gingerbread cocoa stout beer barrel finished whiskey (since it’s no longer legally bourbon when it’s 2nd casked). I got one of those small 2L barrels and used it to finish some Bulleit after it held an Irish Stout. I liked it and so far no other whiskey drinkers have turned their nose up at it :-). Anyway, it’s interesting if you like the finished bourbons / whiskeys. Prior to the early 2016 Wheated Abraham, they had a red wine barrel finished version, and it was similarly excellent. I confess I have a liking for the finished or 2 cask bourbons/whiskeys.

    I can tell you that Abrahams are very, very limited in quantity. If you see one that interests you, it may pay to look up some friends in the Commonwealth ( the original, not that splinter cell, knock off commonwealth, Kentucky :-P) Bowman said there were 200 in line for the last Abraham release. I was there, and I think they were underestimating that count by 100, maybe 120. It was a long wait.

  3. Always happy to help out a friend who shares the whiskey passion, though given what you said about the future of the Old Fitzgerald line, I should have gotten the second bottle I saw for myself.

    With the current insanity over finding just a few impossible to find bottles, I am taking a page from the Obama/Clinton playbook, but in the reverse: When everyone else goes HIGH, I go LOW. Excited to discover some of the underappreciated $20 bottles out there.

    Or more expensive bottles from unexpected places.

  4. Very nice! And I hope you enjoy it!