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Old Fortunate 25 Year American Whiskey

Old Fortunate 25 Year American Whiskey

It can be frustrating to be an American whiskey fan these days. There are a ton of great everyday choices, but the chance to buy something truly special is few and far between. Until not so long ago, the idea of premium whiskey was mostly reserved for Scotch, for American producers it was more of a novelty segment, so it never made sense for them to make very much of it. But American whiskey releases continue to be crowned world's best year after year, everyone has been keyed into the same short list of whiskies, and there's not nearly enough to go around. Now, adding something new to a collection almost always takes a stroke of good luck.

As American whiskeys tides have risen, MGP of Indiana has transformed from a relatively unknown distillery to a whiskey geek darling. While the other big American producers were distilling variations on traditional mash bills, MGP also produced a few "extreme" distillates, intended as ingredients to go into a whiskey blend that needed to be nudged along a particular direction. Realizing that these whiskies actually had incredibly dynamic personalities on their own, were truly unique versions of American whiskey, and that MGP was sitting on lots of well-aged stock, third party operators came knocking. The best of them bottled according to the nerdiest of specs: minimally filtered, at high proofs, and with total transparency. It was nice while it lasted.

The opportunity to work with a local distillery on this release came up earlier this year and we weren't going to wait for lightning to strike twice, we jumped on it. The distillery sources other products from MGP, and in consideration of their good standing as a purchaser of common products, they were offered the chance to buy some very old barrel picks. The whiskey was distilled in 1992 from a light whiskey recipe, mostly corn but distilled to a higher proof than Bourbon, then set to age in a second use American oak barrel.

The whiskey itself is fantastic, inherently American, but also different. And rare. There are a few bottlers putting out light whiskey, mostly young to medium aged. We found one example of a 14 Year Light Whiskey being sold for $100 a bottle. But premium light whiskey is virtually unheard of, 25 Year light whiskey even more so.

Considering the niche category and all that time, we're pretty confident this is destined to be a flash in the pan. Working with our partner, we selected four barrels. Time wasn't kind. The barrel selected to be bottled on its own and at cask strength yielded only 72 bottles. Three other barrels were batched together and brought to 47% ABV, for a total of 168 bottles. The Old Fortunate brand was born for this very limited release. We hope you feel as lucky to get your hands on a bottle as we feel being able to offer it to you.

The Single Barrel release was bottled at full Cask Strength straight from the barrel, minimally filtered in an effort to present the purest experience of 25 Year American Light Whiskey possible, in all of its 62.7% ABV glory. Disregarding the name, hefty aromas present themselves immediately, deep toffee notes and caramelized sugars infused with a touch of oak. The body is no slouch either, throwing its weight around with such finesse you're hard-pressed to reconcile that you're sipping on 125.4 Proof or a whiskey described as "light". The oak is a touch more present than its Small Batch sibling, primarily found through the barrel char left behind. A rich chocolate note layers into that subtle smokiness, calling up late night desserts enjoyed next to a smoldering campfire.

The Small Batch release is comprised of three barrels who lost a majority of their contents to the angels. Each bottle was hand-bottled, hand-numbered, and proofed to 47% ABV. Soft melted caramel on the nose, with a wisp of vanilla bean and oak. The aroma hints at the great amount of time spent in barrel, time which has pushed off any hint of alcohol, makes on think they're sniffing at whiskey-infused buttercream instead of 94 proof. On the palate tart fruit and caramel corn mingle with gentle maple and sawdust, complex layers of flavor slowly unfurl, and despite 25+ years spent in wood, the body remains soft and supple, surely thanks to the second use oak barrel. This light whiskey lives up to the name, elegant and nuanced, absent the heavy wood sugars of traditional American whiskey, with the flavors of the distillate continuing to deepen and hold its own against the barrel these many years later.
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