December 2, 2014

There's Pappy, and then there's PAPPY! (Review 1959-1966 Old Fitzgerald BIB)

(This post is dedicated to Josh Feldman at CooperedTot. You can find a much more informative review here.)


Now understand, we pride ourselves on keeping a fair amount of redonkulous booty on hand at SmokyBeast headquarters (stuff... like... this).  But once in a while one of our associates drops in, fresh from high seas adventure, and unpacks an otherworldly treasure.  This is such a tale...

High up in the loftiest tower of Riverside Castle, your faithful hubby and wifey - Duke & Dutchess Smoky von Beast - were wiling away the afternoon enjoying some Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year. From the deep fog of the Hudson emerged the slowly waving Jolly Roger of Cap'n Coops pirate ship Beelzebub's Fanny Pack.

"Land Ho!" cried Coop as he dropped anchor, gripped dagger in teeth, and leapt up onto a thick hemp rope to swing through our third floor window.  "I've got me a live one!" Affixed to his baggy pantaloons with a sailor's knot was a velvet sack about fourteen inches long and six around.

"Afternoon, Coop!" We exchanged pleasantries (as pleasant as you can be with a savage pirate) and offered him a glass of our Pappy 15.

"Look here me' Beasties, there's Pappy, and then there's PAPPY!" Coop exclaimed. "You see there's the stuff that's named after Pappy. And then there's the stuff that Pappy made with his own hands. That there you're drinking is the former." And out from his velvet sack he pulled his dusty treasure. "This here? This be the latter!"

Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond distilled 1959 - bottled 1966 

Of course Stitzel-Weller was Julian "Pappy" Van Winkle Sr.'s prized distillery, and Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond was his brand of choice.  You can just tell from the care that went into that label that this brand meant something special to Pappy.  He passed away in 1965, so this would presumably have been made during some of his last active years at the distillery and bottled one year after his death.

Tasting Notes

Nose:  Holy God, the wood and wheat just go on for miles.  Super clean, sweet, and dry nose that just begs for a sip. Extremely rich vanilla, leather, pipe tobacco, and sweet cherries.

Palate:  Wow it's got so much character, so much wood and sweet molasses and good old mature leathery richness, but at the same time it's so alive! Bright and punchy and not at all tired.

Finish: Finishing with candied oranges and cherries.  The wood floating out over the spice and rich sweet wheaty bourbon.  Just amazing.


You know sometimes you look at all this whiskey and you just think "is it all hype?"  "Is the crazy rare sought after stuff really that much better, or does it all taste pretty much the same?"  Then you taste something like this and you just realize, YES! It is totally 100% different from anything you can go to the store and buy today. As Josh says in his post, it's a masterpiece.  Pure and simple masterpiece.  Thanks buddy for giving us a taste!


  1. Sharing great pours is the most fun and the highest use. The majesty of mid-century of Old Fitz is searing indictment of the market which crushed Stitzel-Weller and can't replicate what Pappy wrought. It's also a hear rending tragedy as remaining bottles are rapidly priced into the far stratosphere and are never coming back. Antique Old Fitz is a becoming a vanished unicorn and I weep for whiskey. Not that there aren't wonderful current pours - and even emerging great new ones. But what has been lost cannot be replaced - and it was truly peerless.

  2. Agree with most everything here but for one detail: Pappy was never a distiller; he ran the business and did sales. He did not make any whiskey "with his own hands"; he had distillers to do that for him.

    1. Thanks for the note. You're right, "made with his own hands" is not accurate. We meant made while he was running the distillery. cheers!

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