John E. Fitzgerald Very Special Reserve
Added on Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 03:04 PM
  Bottler: Heaven Hill
  Age: 20 yrs Type: American
  Vintage: 1992 Subtype: Bourbon
  ABV: 45.00 % Region: Kentucky
  Price: $300 Availability: Specialty Stores
20 year old Stitzel-Weller bourbon, transferred to stainless in 2013, bottled 2015. Bottling is 375ml.
Member Ratings and Notes

The nose is very, very good, A- on the nose alone. Mildly skunky with oak, and there is a little something different going on that I can't say I'd pick out as Stitzel-Weller were I tasting this blind (I'm not), but I'd probably identify it as unusual and inviting.


And then there's the palate. It's good, but just not what the nose promised. It's not bad by any means, just lackluster. Dark dried fruits, black cherries in particular, with the expected oak and other garnishes. Some tannins in the late finish become almost too much.


In the hope that this might improve after some lenghty opening up, I let the glass sit for the better part of 30 minutes, then went back to it. Nope. It's good bourbon, just not great bourbon.


N:  Very complex, deep , and rich.  Hints of bread, ether, wood polish, candied red fruits, and custardy desserts. 

P:  Velvety and smooth, cherry and oak dominate and unfortunately they don't let much else through.  Rather one note, certainly tasty but lacks the gritty richness of the really great wheaters.

F: The cherry fades, with dry oak lingering.

Going back to the nose before each sip makes for an enjoyable experience, but it's missing that lip smacking goodness that would push it into the A range.  [Review based on several deep pours on two different nights]


The nose is fantastic, super oaky and dry like some of the best old Stitzel-Wellers. Unfortunately, the palate doesn't follow suit. It's fruity and sweet with some cocoa, but it's lacking the strong oak notes and complexity of the nose. The flavors are diluted with a watery mouthfeel. The finish is very light and a bit fruity. It's too bad that it didn't live up to the promise of the nose.


Good but not great.

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