The front label was missing on this particular bottle. Pics of Very Old Fitz 8yo are pretty available, and we thought it would be best to show the condition of the actual bottle we tasted. We chose this one because the interior condition looked the best of our possible choices for the 8yo.
The nose had toffee and brandy notes. The palate came on dry and spicy with some sweet brandy notes and a mouthfeel that was at once chewy and creamy. The finish has caramel and some coffee notes.
This is so subtle, not blaring spice, sugar or oak but an understated melange of notes that comes together well. What happened to lovely, understated bourbons like this and why don't we have them anymore?
Again just extra, unexpected, great range of dimensions here. Sweetness, but the oak is big for 8 years. If this was on the shelf and priced as a typical 8yo, I couldn't buy enough of it! As the glass drains the tannins can get surprisingly heavy at times, but who cares. This is great stuff. I'd definitely want to own it, so it's gotta be at least a B+.
IMPORTANTLY: Over time, I learned that VOF 8yo really improves as the bottle opens up. I mean, it's good when you open it, but after a month or so open, it becomes excellent. I've tasted a lot of VOF's now (writing this in early 2017), and many of them are a straight A once you get them to their sweet spot, this bottle included.
Color is red/golden amber. The nose on this fascinated me. It started weak and thin with every note hiding away. Over the course of maybe half an hour it started to expand open into this beautiful bouquet of caramel, vanilla and molasses. Just like with the Van Winkle line, I adore the noses on the younger expressions. It was incredible how the elements just became more and more concentrated. The palate was slightly disappointing: straightforward with some sweet oak and a barely present bitter tinge. Regardless it drank really easy and left me satisfied. B+/A- [10/18/13]
The nose was sweet with molasses and oranges, which I think is a great combination. It started out really great, but the palate brought menthol and bitter notes, with much more oak than I would expect for an 8 year old. It made me think the bottle was lined with oak (insert sarcastic smile here).
Hard to see myself giving a B to such a legendary whisky, but I have to go with my taste buds. If this were available today as an everyday drinker, I would buy it all, but for a collectible at todays prices, I'm glad I tried it.
If I were to grade the experience, of course, an A, but on taste, a B (86).