Thursday, August 11, 2011

REVIEW: Old Fitzgerald Prime 90 Proof (The legendary Snitzel & Weeler brand)

I bet all you bourbon zealots want to know how I came across this little number, don't you?!  Well, it's from a very dear bourbon pal whose liver has developed some fatty deposits.  So, since he can't drink it, he had me buy it off him for what he paid for it:  $15!

For the bourbon rooks out there whom don't know the allure or history of Old Fitzgerald, please allow me to spin this yarn for a bit.

The Old Fitzy label, as I call it, came about as a result of two companies merging their assets of fine straight bourbons; Snitzel and W.L.Weeler.  On the 75th birthday of Hans Snitzel in the winter of 1936, he decided that it was time to hang up the mash and decided to merge efforts with deer friend Pappy Van Winkle (no relation to the fable-tale).  As part of the agreement, Pappy would take over day-to-day operations with Hans claiming the title of Master Distiller which was just a fancy title for retirement.  Upon the completion of the merger on September 5th 1936, Pappy decided on a new label called Old Fitzgerald, named after his mother's Maiden name.  As a result, he had to create a Mini Distillery called Old Fitzgerald Bourbon Distillery located on the grounds of W.L. Weeler.  To stay within the law, Pappy had his top notch contruction team build the signage, labeling compound, and rick houses.  The first distillatte ran of the potstill on September 9th 1936 and the first bottle of Old Fitzgerald was a Bottles in Bonded released on September 29th 1936, followed by Old Fitzgerald Prime 90 released on October 19th 1938.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

This fine bourbon not only caught on in a big way, but lives in bourbon lore and legend and is coveted by all bourbon lovers around the world.  It's oftened referred to as the Holly Grayl of bourbon.  Anyone who has read any of the great bourbon message boards (this is where most of my research and knowledge comes from, especially know about the famous Snitzel and Weeler, better known as S/W Old Fitzgerald.  The current bottling has no relation to the S/W distillery whatsoever but, rather, it's owned by the Seagram's Golden Wine Cooler Company and is just okay.

All S/W bourbon, including the Old Fitz labels, are known for their caramel, cheery pie, toasted almond and green peppercorn flavor notes.  If you can't sport wood with this bourbon, then you best go find yourself a Budweiser and quit the bourbon-drinking business for good.

So, without further adoo, here's my review and tasting notes.

Old Fitzgerald Prime 90 Proof (The legendary Snitzel & Weeler brand)

This bottle is in mint condition and still was in the box - a pristine box, no less.  I immediately noticed the tax stamp which had a date of 1938.  The bottle and tax stamp (which is notorious for falling about) looked as if it wasn't touched by human hand nor light since its packaging.

This is highly coveted, not only for its breed (S/W) but because it's the first release of Old Fitz Prime!  I called one of my bourbon bottle-collecting pals and he said that it was worth somewheres around $2,500!  But since it was a gift meant to be drunk, I was hell-bent on drinking it rather than make a profit off my deer friend.

As soon as I popped the cork, I could smell that old S/W nose.  Mmmmmmmmmmmm, what a smell!  I could just nose-screw this bourbon all day and be satisfied!  I poured it in my Glennkaren crystal glass and let it sit for 24 hours to let some of the crystals led bleed through (this does not work well for all bourbons but for S/W it's insane).

The next evening, I pulled the bourbon from my vestabule and nose-screwed it some more.  WOW!!!!!  This is unbelievable!  My dog-like sniffer picks up every nuance: sod, limestone, led paint cherry coke, lemon seed, grass, rye bread, american cheese, dirt, poppy seed and caramel.  I immediately take a quick sip and let it play amongst my taste buds then swallow.  And BADA-BING, this is true bourbon royalty.  It's absolutely insane.  I get kit-kat, caramel, rye bread, cornmeal, lead pipe and cherry pie flavors.  And then the finish was chalk-full of banana bread and molded earth.  It is excellent!

It is a near-flawless bourbon.  It's an addiction!  Anyone who loves an A+ traditional-style (1st grain is rye) bourbon then this is for you.

Rating Scale
50+ putrid
40-50 below average
30-40 average
20-30 good
10-20 very good
0-10 excellent

My Score:


  1. Don't love me, love the content.

  2. Bless you for tearing a new one!