Last night I finally got to try the John E. Fitzgerald Very Special Reserve at a craft cocktail bar. It was the place I mentioned in October when I first blogged about the Bourbon. I had tried to return numerous times, but it was always on a night they were not opened and so I was out of luck. As it turns out the price tag has people running scared and I was only the second person to sample this nectar. I must say most of the Bourbons I have had older than 18 years have been less than stellar. My conclusion was anything older than 15 should be sampled at a bar rather than purchased. Well this small bottle has certainly thrown my theory about older Bourbons out the window. The JEF was devine with subtle alcohol notes and a bouquet of fruits and brown sugar coupled with an underlying tone from the oak. The flavor was magnificent with more brown sugar, cinnamon, spice, leather, tobacco, and everything at a manageable level to create a stupendous Bourbon. Here’s the rub, at $300 a 375 ml bottle if you can find it and $100 per ounce at a bar you are not going to sample this one unless you are a Bourbon fanatic or perhaps if you are made of money. At $100 an ounce that small 375 ml bottle would be $1,200 so a night of hard partying with four friends having three ounces each and you’d hate yourself in the morning not because of the hangover, but because of the bar bill.
I seriously doubt even if I came across a $300 retail bottle I would buy it. It’s awesome, it’s one of a kind, but it is freaking expensive. I can find sub $100 bottles of Bourbon all day everyday which are wonderful. If you see it and can afford it, be sure to try it because it is awesome.