Just to be clear for those of you that may be confused: this is not a review of the fabled Stoll/Van Winkle A.H. Hirsch Reserve that is currently selling for nearly $3,000. But don’t fret, this IS a review of a high-quality, high-rye bourbon named in honor of and inspired by the quality of A.H. Hirsch.
This bourbon is brought to us by the fine people at Hotaling & Co (f/k/a Anchor Distilling Company) in San Francisco. This company has released a range of sourced selections honoring the Hirsch name, as well as numerous other whiskeys including Lot40, Pike Creek, and Nikka, just to name a few.
The company is open about that fact that the juice in this bottle was sourced from MGP in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. This bourbon is actually a marriage of two separate mashbills: one made of 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malt, and another made of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malt. This bourbon is aged in barrels with #4 char on the barrel walls and a #2 char on the barrel heads. It was aged for 8 years and comes in at 92 proof (46% abv). I found this bottle in Georgia for $45.
Appearance – caramel.
Nose – the rye spice definitely leads on the nose along with vanilla and some freshly cut oak. However, there is plenty of sweetness to balance the spicy aroma. I found rich caramel, stewed pears, and some dried cherry. A few drops of water brought out more of the sweet caramel and some butterscotch notes.
Palate – this is definitely a high-rye bourbon! There is a subtle sweetness that presents initially, reminiscent of golden honey, but the rye spice quickly takes over. I also found white peppercorn, some toasted grain, more of the pear sweetness, and rich, salted caramel intermingling with the spice notes.
Finish – the finish is medium-long and as you would probably guess, it is spicy. The rye spice really doesn’t fade but it also doesn’t overpower the sweet notes that develop throughout the sip. I found peanut caramel corn and golden raisins on the finish, along with some dry oak notes lingering in the background.
Overall – This is a complex, flavorful, and generally well-rounded high-rye bourbon. The layers of spice and sweetness blend together seamlessly and make for a very pleasant sipping experience. I took my time with this one and found more and more flavor developing, especially with a few drops of water. As a fan of high-rye bourbon, I truly appreciate the flavor profile this bourbon has to offer.
Personally, I think Hotaling & Co. is doing a great job of honoring the Hirsch name, and for a very reasonable price, and I look forward to trying their other Hirsch-inspired expressions.