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Hi,

 

So I'm not fluent in distiller history and I was hoping you guys could help me out.

 

A few years ago an acquaintance was liquidating his collection and I purchased the below bottle from him as it looked interesting.

 

From what I have been told the original Hirsch distillery is no more, although there is some sort of Hirsch bourbon being released these days that I'm guessing is unrelated. The times I see bottles advertised online as real original Hirsch seem to be the tall bottles of Hirsch Reserve circa 1974, so I don't know exactly what my bottle is. Is it a real Hirsch release or some sort of later iteration of it?  

 

Any thoughts?

 

As importantly has anyone tried it?

 

Thanks a bunch.

 

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Edited by soulsea
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I did see a couple of threads on it here ... this one seems to be the most informative as far as the OP taking directly to the distributor, but there still seems to be some hearsay in it. 

 

 

Most of the threads on it are quite old so I'm wondering if there's any new info on it since then.

 

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Hi Soulsea,

 

There was never a Hirsch Distillery. The original bottlings were given the Hirsch name to honor the man who had the whisky and sold it to Gordy Hue. Later Preiss Imports took over the name and distributed it. The original was distilled in PA by Pennco later named Michters. Dick Stoll was the likely distiller. 
 

This bottle is a later release with no connection to the original except it was done by Priess imports. I think it was an 06 release. I think I heard the rye was from Canada and moved to KY.  Never had it but hear it was pretty darn good. Crack it and let us know how you like it!  
 

Here is a cool article that talks a little about the original and other cool stuff as well. 

https://www.bourbonbanter.com/banter/gordy-hue-and-the-greatest-bourbon-story-youve-never-heard/#.X9Tw1SVOmEc

 

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5 hours ago, Jfevre said:

Hi Soulsea,

 

There was never a Hirsch Distillery. The original bottlings were given the Hirsch name to honor the man who had the whisky and sold it to Gordy Hue. Later Preiss Imports took over the name and distributed it. The original was distilled in PA by Pennco later named Michters. Dick Stoll was the likely distiller. 
 

This bottle is a later release with no connection to the original except it was done by Priess imports. I think it was an 06 release. I think I heard the rye was from Canada and moved to KY.  Never had it but hear it was pretty darn good. Crack it and let us know how you like it!  
 

Here is a cool article that talks a little about the original and other cool stuff as well. 

https://www.bourbonbanter.com/banter/gordy-hue-and-the-greatest-bourbon-story-youve-never-heard/#.X9Tw1SVOmEc

 

 

Thank you so much for the explanation ... reading the linked article now.

 

With bottles such as this one (or my Michter's 20 that I won at auction) I get stuck in this place where I keep waiting for the right occasion to open irreplaceable bottles, or at least bottles that have become so expensive to buy that I wouldn't pay to replace them ... inevitably, that hypothetical occasion never manifests, so they sit there un-drunk.  I have to do something about that ... either lower my threshold for what qualifies as a special occasion or raise my self worth enough to make me believe I am worth it on an average occasion. ?

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Jfevre is correct that Hirsch is a brand not a distillery, but I don't think it could be labeled as Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey if it came from Canada.

 

In the link below Julian Van Winkle seems to suggest the other post you linked to above is true. He bought a bunch of rye barrels from 2 different distilleries, married them together, and had enough to sell to (and sometimes barrel for) two other brands - Hirsch Selection and Black Maple Hill - in addition to supplying the stocks for his own Van Winkle Rye releases.

 

There is nothing to prove definitively that this bottle of Hirsch Selection represents an extra aged version of the same stocks used for Van Winkle Rye, but the math works and the stories do seem to fit. 

 

All that said, open that sucker on New Year's day. If the end of 2020 isn't an occasion worth celebrating what the hell is??? ?

 

Edited by dad-proof
typos - prob didn't catch them all!
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1 hour ago, dad-proof said:

All that said, open that sucker on New Year's day. If the end of 2020 isn't an occasion worth celebrating what the hell is??? ?

 

So what I hear you saying is that 21 is the time to drink a 21. :)

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I knew some people would jump in and show the way, so I hesitated in posting. Here’s my post anyway. 

 

The Hirsch story is a long one with many twists and turns. There is no Hirsch distillery. Hirsch is bottled as/by a NDP. (non distiller producer) It’s had several owners, and been produced in (three?) states. I believe Hotaling now owns the brand. The bottle you have was produced by Preiss Imports. I think they were the previous owners. The op used the word hearsay. Transparency is the word more commonly used in the bourbon world. While things have been mostly transparent regarding Hirsch and it’s story, there are still  some things that might make a person raise an eyebrow. The main one that makes me question things is the tanking of distillate. There’s also a story or rumor of the actual emptying of a large number of bottles and the retanking of that distillate to be bottled yet again at a later date as other iterations. Things that make you go huh...:unsure:

 

Biba! Joe

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The story of AH Hirsch is a great one. I have some of these bottles, (21, 25, 27y) and they are very good. Anything from Preiss Imports is usually very good. It’s not official A.H.Hirsch but it’s very good.  
I don’t think you will be disappointed. 

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8 hours ago, soulsea said:

 

Thank you so much for the explanation ... reading the linked article now.

 

With bottles such as this one (or my Michter's 20 that I won at auction) I get stuck in this place where I keep waiting for the right occasion to open irreplaceable bottles, or at least bottles that have become so expensive to buy that I wouldn't pay to replace them ... inevitably, that hypothetical occasion never manifests, so they sit there un-drunk.  I have to do something about that ... either lower my threshold for what qualifies as a special occasion or raise my self worth enough to make me believe I am worth it on an average occasion. ?

I get the predicament with saving some bottles for the right time or a special enough occasion.  I have to constantly remind myself that today’s average occasion might be special tomorrow.  Life is crazy. Health, jobs, proximity to loved ones, ect.  can all change quickly. Freddie Johnson puts it a lot more eloquently then I can at the end of NEAT. If you haven’t seen it watch it just for the end. 

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I believe Chuck Cowdery wrote a book about Hirsch.  I'm not sure when it was published, if it would have anything relating to above bottle or not.

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BottledInBond

As others have pointed out there isn’t and never was a Hirsch distillery. That said, your bottle of 21 year Hirsch rye is a delicious pour. Not Canadian. Rumored to be Medley rye that went into a number of other NDP eyes that highly celebrated, such as the ear VWFRRs. I’ve had my share of Hirsch 21 rye and would certainly encourage you to open it and drink it. Easy to keep holding off saying “some day” but what happens when you have a heart attack, get in a car crash, or even get Covid now? Life is too short. Drink the good shit. I’m drinking a little Booker’s Rye right now, just to practice what I preach

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I think my disposition is a byproduct of growing up in really modest conditions (to put it nicely) and working really hard for a great part of my life mixed with great fortune to get to a point where I can treat myself and those I care for to nice things.  Yet the residual trauma is still there that leads to a fear of being wasteful, or spoiled, or things being too expensive to be used without guilt.  I still have memories as a young child of receiving shoes as a present and my grandmother putting them aside for a 'special occasion' ... that occasion came every once in a while but always when I had outgrown the shoes. You'd think may takeaway from such experiences would be to use the thing before it's too late, yet the opposite has somehow been imprinted, where, even cognoscente that the two things are unrelated, it feels 'wrong' to drink a $2500 750ml liquid when I see the dire economical situation of others around me.  This is most assuredly a me issue that I need to resolve at some point, lest I can make sure my ghost has access to my earthly possessions. 

 

Having said all that, you guys have almost convinced me ...

 

So on a practical level, is there something specific that has to be done to maximize the enjoyment of something like this?  Does it need to breathe in the bottle or glass for a bit before being drunk? A couple of drops of distilled water to release the flavors or leave it alone? Or just crack it open and take a swig from the bottle, no ritual required? :)

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39 minutes ago, soulsea said:

I think my disposition is a byproduct of growing up in really modest conditions (to put it nicely) and working really hard for a great part of my life mixed with great fortune to get to a point where I can treat myself and those I care for to nice things.  Yet the residual trauma is still there that leads to a fear of being wasteful, or spoiled, or things being too expensive to be used without guilt.  I still have memories as a young child of receiving shoes as a present and my grandmother putting them aside for a 'special occasion' ... that occasion came every once in a while but always when I had outgrown the shoes. You'd think may takeaway from such experiences would be to use the thing before it's too late, yet the opposite has somehow been imprinted, where, even cognoscente that the two things are unrelated, it feels 'wrong' to drink a $2500 750ml liquid when I see the dire economical situation of others around me.  This is most assuredly a me issue that I need to resolve at some point, lest I can make sure my ghost has access to my earthly possessions. 

 

Having said all that, you guys have almost convinced me ...

 

So on a practical level, is there something specific that has to be done to maximize the enjoyment of something like this?  Does it need to breathe in the bottle or glass for a bit before being drunk? A couple of drops of distilled water to release the flavors or leave it alone? Or just crack it open and take a swig from the bottle, no ritual required? :)

I grew up like you. I also worked hard to greatly improve my life outlook. I still suffer a bit from the "hold it for a special occasion" condition but have largely gotten over it. It's because I have so much damn good bourbon that I need to start drinking it.

 

To answer your last question, pour it, taste it, and let the results of that first taste guide you.

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BottledInBond
53 minutes ago, soulsea said:

I think my disposition is a byproduct of growing up in really modest conditions (to put it nicely) and working really hard for a great part of my life mixed with great fortune to get to a point where I can treat myself and those I care for to nice things.  Yet the residual trauma is still there that leads to a fear of being wasteful, or spoiled, or things being too expensive to be used without guilt.  I still have memories as a young child of receiving shoes as a present and my grandmother putting them aside for a 'special occasion' ... that occasion came every once in a while but always when I had outgrown the shoes. You'd think may takeaway from such experiences would be to use the thing before it's too late, yet the opposite has somehow been imprinted, where, even cognoscente that the two things are unrelated, it feels 'wrong' to drink a $2500 750ml liquid when I see the dire economical situation of others around me.  This is most assuredly a me issue that I need to resolve at some point, lest I can make sure my ghost has access to my earthly possessions. 

 

Having said all that, you guys have almost convinced me ...

 

So on a practical level, is there something specific that has to be done to maximize the enjoyment of something like this?  Does it need to breathe in the bottle or glass for a bit before being drunk? A couple of drops of distilled water to release the flavors or leave it alone? Or just crack it open and take a swig from the bottle, no ritual required? :)

At 93 proof I have never worried about adding water to it personally. If it were me I’d probably open it and pour a glass and let it sit for. 15 minutes before trying it. There are plenty of opinions out there on adding water or not, letting a bottle “breathe” or not. None of them are scientific. I think you’ll enjoy the pour no matter what you do but if you dilute it you can’t undo that. You can always start neat and add a few drops at a time if you decide you need to. 
 

I will say that side by side always tells the truth. Pour yourself a little of whatever your standard rye is you keep around the house to compare it to just for fun. That Hirsch has the creamy and funky that is going to taste unique and amazing compared to any current rye out there, in my opinion.

 

Enjoy.

 

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I get the hesitation, and relate in many ways to how you grew up.

 

It sounds like you need to answer IF you will open it, not when. There are great ways to preserve open bottles, so you can satiate your curiosity whenever you want and still have a lot waiting for several special occasions down the road.

 

As for how, I say with a friend who likes whiskey.

 

I've never had anything like this Hirsch, but I did have a few bottles that I regularly bought for $20-40 at retail packed up when I got married and moved. I was more into Scotch at the time and forgot all about them. Around 7-8 years later I had a friend that didn't like Scotch, so I dug around the basement and found those old bottles and we enjoyed them together whenever he came over. Both of us were blissfully unaware of their increased market value, and aside from Knob Creek and MM knew next to nothing about bourbon. We just laughed about ORVW being a clever name for a bourbon, and made fun of the cheesy homemade craft project look of those old bottles of HMcK BIB 10. Most nights I thought the HMcK had too much oak, but my friend loved it. Had I known what squat bottle ORVW10 or pre-fire HH was going for,  it may have stopped me from having good times with friends.

 

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I understand your hesitation. I’ve felt the same for a long long time, but have slowly been coming around to opening and enjoying more of my “good stuff”. To witness, I’ve opened a Blanton’s, WLW, and ER this past week. Yeah, the ER might be questionable, but it’s been months since I’ve seen any. :blink: Anyway, open, drink, and enjoy. :)
 

Biba! Joe

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open it and send a check for it's "worth"  to the charity of your choice. guilt assuaged ! 

 

and i would most certainly take a small pull directly from the bottle

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I identify considerably with the “born into a less than luxurious lot in life initially to a pretty comfortable existence now” perspective, but still try to lean more frugal than spendthrift.  That being said, everyone should have a “life leak” or two that they can safely indulge in without wrecking their family’s present and future.  Lord knows I’ve had my fair share, and thankfully I’m not smoke and mirroring my life (I think).

 

So spoil yourself with a bottle or three that many would consider to be “unicorn status”.  Unless you cheated or stole it, sounds like you’ve earned it!

 

Here’s my recommendation on how to consume it (and also who with, if I’m not invited)........

 

8049C5E9-9D07-487B-9596-ED5F7166E38B.jpeg

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On 12/16/2020 at 4:50 AM, parksmart said:

I identify considerably with the “born into a less than luxurious lot in life initially to a pretty comfortable existence now” perspective, but still try to lean more frugal than spendthrift.  That being said, everyone should have a “life leak” or two that they can safely indulge in without wrecking their family’s present and future.  Lord knows I’ve had my fair share, and thankfully I’m not smoke and mirroring my life (I think).

 

 

"Life Leak" - me likee!!!   ?

 

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1 minute ago, GeeTen said:

 

"Life Leak" - me likee!!!   ?

 

They’re kinda fun, in measured doses that is........ ?

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