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  1. #21
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Hirsch Selection American Whiskey 20

    You liked it that much? I thought it average at best and poor for the price. I can get a Pappy 20 for near same price. NO comparison!

  2. #22
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: Hirsch Selection American Whiskey 20

    Every Whiskey? I'm not sure I know anyone who has completed that task! Did you take notes on these hundreds of bottles? If so, please share.

    I can't comment on the whiskey, as I haven't had it, but I think this is one I'd like to try before I buy.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  3. #23
    Advanced Taster
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    Dec 2006
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    Venice
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    228

    Re: Hirsch Selection American Whiskey 20

    I just heard about this whiskey today and am intrigued by the "Illinois Whiskey" descriptor. (Not that I really want to buy any) I wonder where this stuff was made. There are only 5 IL DSPs listed on the current USA DSP list. (One of them is Diageo however. ) I wonder if you take neutral grain spirits, stick them in a cask, can you call it "whiskey?"

    This also brings up a thought that I have never considered before. We all know that bourbon gets so much of its flavor from the fact it is aged in new barrels. And that the scotch boys have to age their products much longer to get barrel influence. With that said however, I wonder what a corn or rye distillate would taste like if aged in a used barrel for a long time.

    In other words, are there different flavors you get from a used barrel that you don't get from a new barrel? (I'm not talking about the influence that you get from whatever was in the barrel before, but rather from the influence of the wood itself.) To put it another way, does "used up" wood impart a different and/or better and/or worse character?
    Steve
    "Rye whiskey, rye whiskey, rye whiskey I cry. If a tree don't fall on me, I'll live till I die" - Tex Ritter

  4. #24
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Sep 1999
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    Chicago
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    12,536

    Re: Hirsch Selection American Whiskey 20

    Who in Illinois was making whiskey in 1987? I'm told of a mysterious distillery in East St. Louis (really, I'm not kidding), but I don't know anything more than that.

    There were quite a few whiskey distilleries in Illinois through the 1960s. The last one in Peoria closed in 1972. I don't know of any that went longer, but I am told there was this one in ESL that went to 1987.

  5. #25
    Taster
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    Mar 2006
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    S.F. Bay Area
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    89

    Re: Hirsch Selection American Whiskey 20

    Quote Originally Posted by fussychicken View Post
    I just heard about this whiskey today and am intrigued by the "Illinois Whiskey" descriptor. (Not that I really want to buy any) I wonder where this stuff was made. There are only 5 IL DSPs listed on the current USA DSP list. (One of them is Diageo however. ) I wonder if you take neutral grain spirits, stick them in a cask, can you call it "whiskey?"

    This also brings up a thought that I have never considered before. We all know that bourbon gets so much of its flavor from the fact it is aged in new barrels. And that the scotch boys have to age their products much longer to get barrel influence. With that said however, I wonder what a corn or rye distillate would taste like if aged in a used barrel for a long time.

    In other words, are there different flavors you get from a used barrel that you don't get from a new barrel? (I'm not talking about the influence that you get from whatever was in the barrel before, but rather from the influence of the wood itself.) To put it another way, does "used up" wood impart a different and/or better and/or worse character?
    This is an interesting thought but one I'm thinking has some serious snags to factor in.

    Things like accounting for the regional environmental differences between the US and Scotland. Discerning the difference of the toll taken on wood when corn, rye or whiskey are common ingredients vs. the effect of 100% barley (if talking about single malt whisky). What role do the (typically) disassembled barrels play in comparison to the reconstructed casks? Is it relevant that a cask might be reconstructed of wood that held various brands or types of whiskey aged various years with differing formulas / percentages, and perhaps different chars on the wood etc. etc. etc.

    In other words, just contemplating sorting it all out - hurts my head.

  6. #26
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Sep 2002
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    Re: Hirsch Selection American Whiskey 20

    A corn spirit distilled at a low proof (under 160) and aged in used barrels would taste like one of the Heaven Hill corn whiskeys, e.g., Mellow Corn (or at least that is one type of such taste). The barrel does not do that much for the whiskey, its grain and oily tastes are preserved more so than if a bourbon barrel had been used.

    For rye aged in such a barrel, the Old Potrero 18th Century-style rye whiskey gives an example.

    Even Early Times gives a partial indication since it uses both new and reused barrels in maturation.

    I think the reused barrel, as for Scots, Irish and Canadian whiskies, just doesn't do that much for the whiskey. It imparts a light woody note and with very long maturation, assists to create some fine tastes, but overall gives much less to the spirit than new charred wood. The latter gives the rich wood gums, caramelised by the heavy charring and that works a different (and faster) kind of maturation on the spirit.

    That 20 year Hirsch whiskey aged in reused wood would be interesting since it is a chance to see if such long storage can result in something of the quality of the best long-aged malt whiskies.

    The same would be true of any long-aged corn whiskey, which was available 100 years ago but not today, all corn whiskey is 4 years old maximum at sale I believe. A partial exception is Hotalings rye aged 11 years or so in reused wood, from Anchor Distilling - it is good but still pretty pungent and forward - I wonder what 5 more years in the barrel would have done.

    I think the new charred wood approach for American straights came about because the wood was plentiful and cheap, it flavored the whiskey nicely and (most important) the whiskey became saleable at a relatively young age (2-8 years of age generally) - you didn't have to put it away for 12-20 years like malt whisky to get optimum results.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 01-29-2008 at 11:59.

  7. #27
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    103

    Re: Hirsch Selection American Whiskey 20

    I have to agree with Vange. I found it average at best. And bearing the great "Hirsch" name had me expecting much, much more. Truth is, it doesn't even deserve to be associated with Hirsch, given the standard set by the impeccable 16 y.o. bourbon.

    I probably won't buy it again. There are much better options at that price.

  8. #28
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Hirsch Selection American Whiskey 20

    This may suggest that a bourbon or rye mash just doesn't have much potential in re-used wood beyond 4 years or so, i.e., sale at the younger stage is suitable because much of the grain character is preserved (which some people want), but beyond that the wood doesn't seem to do much for it unlike the case with long-aged malts. This may be why the quality end of American whiskey was and remains such mashes aged for a not over-long time in new charred wood.

    Gary

 

 

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