Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Whiskey Wednesday: Born in the USA Part 9 - A.H. Hirsch

Some myths are so ingrained in the collective psyche that no matter how many times you issue corrections, no matter how often you try to set the record straight, the myth endures. These are not just urban legends told in gullible emails, but factual contentions that are wrong but constantly quoted, even in newspapers and on TV news programs that should know better.

So, it is always worth repeating that you cannot see the Great Wall of China from space, that Nixon did not win the debate on radio and that Bourbon does not have to be made in Kentucky.

So where else is Bourbon made if not in Kentucky? It's made in Virginia, New York and Indiana, among other places. And it used to be made in Pennsylvania. More precisely, it used to be made at Michter’s Distillery in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania. The distillery, one of the last remnants of the booming mid-Atlantic whiskey industry, closed down in 1991. The remaining stocks were purchased by Preiss Imports, and once those are gone, that will be the end, for now, of Pennsylvania Bourbon.

There are several bottlings of Hirsch, but we will be trying the easiest to find in California, the 16 year old reserve with gold foil cap. As the product of a closed distillery, it is expensive, and the price is likely to keep rising. I was able to find this one for $170 at Wine & Liquor Depot in Van Nuys, which is about as cheap as I've seen it (you'll pay almost $100 more at some places).


A.H. Hirsch, 16 year old reserve - Distilled 1974, (gold foil) 45.8% alcohol.

This is a beautiful and unique Bourbon. It is smooth, with a lot of vanilla; it's not too sweet, almost Cognac like. In the finish, you pick up some wood, which is accentuated with a drop of water. This is another wonderful Bourbon that I keep coming back to.

If you've got it in your budget, get some of this stuff before it's gone.

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