"I was recently talking to the National Sales Manager from Preiss Imports because I wanted some additional information on Hirsch Selection 21yr Rye, which they handle. As we were talking he told me about a conversation he had with Julian Van Winkle, from Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, at Whiskyfest 2005. Preiss Imports was tasting the Hirsch 21yr when Julian came over. He tried the Hirsch and said it was excellent and then went back to his booth. About an hour later he came back and tasted it again. He then proceeds to tell the Sales Manager that the whiskey was originally his. I’m not exactly sure how the story goes, but apparently the Van Winkle Distillery bought some 18yr old barrels from someone. Julian thought they had reached their aging peak and bottled it as a limited edition Van Winkle 18yr rye. What Julian didn’t know is that the company that supplied him with the barrels only sold him half of their supply and sold the other half to the company that sells Hirsch. Now, they thought the whiskey could still age a little more and held it for another 3 years. As the story goes, Julian said that if he knew the whiskey would have tasted that good he would have held on to his for another 3 years.
I’m not exactly sure if I got that story 100% correct, but that was the basic gist. It really says a lot when Julian Van Winkle, who is considered an expert, says it was overzealous of him to bottle whiskey that could have vastly improved with more aging."