There’s a new resurgence of Old Fortuna, the historic Kentucky Bourbon brand dating back to the late 1800’s. Its first release is a small batch of just six barrels aged at least six years and bottled at 102 proof.
Fortuna was a popular brand from the late 1800’s until the midcentury downturn for bourbon, when the distillery closed. It was started by a name well-known in Louisville—the Hollenbach family. Phillip and Louis Hollenbach founded Hollenbach Bros. in 1877 and by 1882, they were blending whiskey with the Stitzels at the Glencoe Distillery for the Old Fortuna and Glencoe brands. Business was good enough that they bought the Glencoe Distillery in 1902. Prohibition shut them down, like so many other distilleries, but at least there was still medicinal whiskey. After Repeal, they built a new Glencoe Distillery and sustained Fortuna’s popularity.
Now the brand has been revived by Rare Character with a throwback label and the all-important “Kentucky” designation as its state of distillation.
Fortuna Tasting Notes
Whiskey: Fortuna Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
ABV: 51% (102 proof)
The caramel hits first with oak… It has some familiarities but I’m not taking a guess just yet. I get graham cracker, brown sugar, vanilla, and a more oak and rye than I had expected.
The palate is incredibly balanced with the flavors just as predicted by the aromas. The same sweet flavors of caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla complement oak, black pepper, rye, and tobacco as a late arrival. The sweetness shifts to a bit of crème brûlée with cherries and citrus zest. It has flavor for days.
The finish is long and classic Kentucky bourbon, not overly sweet, with a gentle warming swell.
When historic brands are revived out of the blue, I tend to be suspicious. I have sales resistance. But then I tasted Fortuna…
The six-year age statement has to be coming in under the rule about having to use the youngest whiskey in the bottle because this drinks much older than a six-year bourbon. True to form, Rare Character knocks this one out of the park. I’m now curious whether anyone is better than Rare Character on getting access to prime barrels or being able to pick diamonds in the rough.
Disclaimer: The brand managers kindly
sent me a sample for this review,
without any strings attached.