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V. Good Bourbon! (A.W. Hirsch 16 & 20)

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V. Good Bourbon! (A.W. Hirsch 16 & 20)

Postby Oliver » Tue Aug 27, 2002 1:35 am

I've just had a few drams of A.W. Hirsch 16 year old. I'm not much of a bourbon drinker but took the genre into a whole new dimension. The nose was somewhat muted (a good thing) and the sweetness expressed itself in a variety of pleasant ways, but the best was the mouthfeel; viscous sweet velvet on the tongue. The whole experience was luxurious without being overpowering --a common shortcoming with Bourbon.
On to the questions: In the US people go on and on about how rare this stuff is (and how much more rare the 20 year old is),
--does anyone know if the stuff is available anywhere else? And to you US readers -- is it hard to find --how much to you fork over for it?
--Does anyone know about this Whiskey? I don't think MJ or anyone else at Whisky Mag reviewed it (Why? is it THAT rare?!)
--Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Oliver
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Postby lexkraai » Tue Aug 27, 2002 7:04 am

Hi Oliver

The AW Hirsch 16 y.o. bourbon IS very rare. It comes from the Michter's distillery in Pennsylvania which closed a long time ago. The distillery used pot still rather than column stills. I've got a bottle as well and IMHO it's the best bourbon I've ever had; I agree completely with your tasting notes. At some point the warehouses were still full of whiskey, but were broken into on a regular basis. It was then decided to destroy the whole stock (yes ...) but some of it was saved. Hence your bottle. Jim Murray writes about this whisky in his book on Bourbon, Rye and Tennessee whiskeys, so check that out for more info.

Cheers, Lex
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Postby Oliver » Tue Aug 27, 2002 3:37 pm

Thanks for your reply Lex.
I'll check out Murray's book on Bourbon (I'm sure that this reviewer/consultant's take on Bourbon is somwhat less bombastic and questionable than regarding SMS).
I was also wondering about the 20 year old. I purchased a bottle because the liquor buyer in my favorite store announced that he was going to double the price the next day due to some sort of shortage. To my surpise he did. Is this the start of a collectors market in hte Bourbon world?
Thanks again.
Oliver
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Postby Gate » Tue Aug 27, 2002 6:25 pm

Oliver:
I have never seen the Hirsch bourbons in the UK, but did see the 16-year-old on the Paris-based Maison du Whisky website a while back, but it had gone the next time I looked. I saw both the 16-year-old and the 20-year-old at Central Liquors in Washington DC about 15 months ago, but couldn't quite run to the price (if I remember correctly it converted to about £65 sterling for the 16-year-old and £80 for the 20-year-old). I got Wild Turkey Kentucky Legend and Kentucky Spirit instead, and hadn't regretted the choice for a moment until I read your tasting notes!

[BTW, Jim Murray's book - I'm thinking of "Classic Bourbon, Tennessee and Rye" rather than the "Complete Guide to Whisky" - is great fun and very informative, but over-enthusiastic: he tends to say of what seems like every third whisky that it is in his top five - he must have a top five of about twenty whiskies...]

[This message has been edited by Gate (edited 27 August 2002).]
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Postby Oliver » Wed Aug 28, 2002 8:52 pm

Gate:

I didn't mean to make you regret your purchases! I think that someone who drinks Bourbon on a regular basis might find the A.W. Hirsch 16 somewhat muted aroma-wise. I recently bought the AW 16 to a Bourbon tasting where I discovered the strangest animal: the Weller single barrel 10 year old (bottled in 1992) --I think that's the name -it was noticably ligther than the rest and the nose was something else: Iced tea, hints of mint julep, a definite tea and mint background. Very refined & unlike any other Bourbon I've smelled. We also had the "Best of the Best" Elijah Craig 12. the Heavyweight of the Bunch, I thought. If I were a Bourbon drinker this would be my favourite --cheap too, around $12 a bottle.
This to confirm the truism which all malt drinkers are all painfully aware of: high price rarely equals high quality.
Oliver
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