Old Fitzgerald “1849” 8 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon
750ml, Released 1979-1980, 45% ABV
DP-KY 16, Italian Export
Old Fitzgerald “1849” was one the iconic labels to come from the famed Stitzel-Weller distillery. Birthed from a pre-repeal partnership between Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle, Alex Weller and A.Ph. Stitzel it produced some of the finest American whiskeys this country has ever seen from its re-opening in 1935 till its eventual sale in 1972 and closure in 1991.
While remaining stocks of Stitzel-Weller “juice” have been marketed in more recent years as Old Rip Van Winkle, and later under the Pappy Van Winkle label, both were created and expanded upon by Julian’s son and grandson, the Old Fitzgerald labels remain some of the most sought after.
After Pappy’s death in 1965 the surviving members of his family sold the distillery in 1972 as the bourbon industry began a sharp decline in the domestic market. The new owners, Norton-Simon, had purchased the distillery for its superior reputation with consumers and immediately took advantage of it if by adding inferior whiskey to existing stocks of Stitzel-Weller.
Brands began to nose dive in consumer credibility, brands as Cabin Still are fine examples. While Julian Jr. and Julian 3rd began to purchase existing stocks of Stitzel-Weller and market them under new labels much of its was destined for markets abroad, a trend that was also acted upon by other famed “bottlers” of the day such as Even Kulsveen of Willett.
The 8 year bottles showcased below were release in 1979 and 1980 for the Italian market and represent some of the very last bottlings prior to Norton-Simon’s buy out and alterations. These selections have great fills and provenance with both U.S.A. and Italian tax stamps still in place. They represent some of the last Old Fitzgerald imported into Italy by Zola Predosa of Bologna and have been in possession of former ownership since their release.