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Festive Extended Auction starts Thursday 21st December. Bottle Deadline: 11 December.

A.H. Hirsch Reserve 1974 15 Year Old / 1st Release

Lot: 5004764

A.H. Hirsch Reserve 1974 15 Year Old / 1st Release

Winning Bid: £5,700

Currency Estimate

Important: Currency exchange rates are constantly changing; this feature is to be used as a guide price only. All final transactions occur in British Pounds (£).
Pennco (Michter's)
15 Year Old
Pennsylvania, USA
Offical / Old Commonwealth
Cask Type: 
Bottled Strength: 
95.6 US PROOF / 47.8%
Bottle Size: 
Distillery Status: 
product Details

A.H. Hirsch Reserve 1974 15 Year Old / 1st Release

A legendary bottle of bourbon that has had a whole book written about itself: The Best Bourbon You'll Never Taste by Charles K Cowdery.

Distilled in Spring 1974, this bourbon was bottled from a single 400 barrel batch commissioned by Adolph H. Hirsch and distilled under contract at Michter's distillery (then known as Pennco), just outside Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania. Hirsch was a former Schenley executive who had dealings with Michter's during his time there, and it is believed he commissioned the whiskey as financial favour to the distillery, and actually had little plans for its use. So, it lay ageing in the warehouses for much longer than generally expected for a bourbon at the time. 

When Michter’s distillery finally closed in 1989, Hirsch was well into his nineties, and rather than engage in exigency of rehoming what no longer served its purpose to him, he instead sought to find a buyer for it. Fearing the arduous task of finding a buyer for what was considered an “over-aged” batch of whiskey, Hirsch was fortunate in that one of his old Schenley contacts called Bob Gottesman knew a man in Kentucky who was looking for exactly that, Gordon Hue.

Responsibility for the early bottling was entrusted to Julian Van Winkle III at his Old Commonwealth site in Lawrenceburg. However, his creation of the Pappy Van Winkle brand and subsequent partnership with the Sazerac Company in 2002 also saw bottling of the Hirsch Reserve moved briefly to Buffalo Trace. This is one of Van Winkle's first Lawrenceburg bottlings, produced on 26th February 1990. Van Winkle's ledgers show that he was drip-fed orders for the A.H. Hirsch Reserve, and only produced limited case numbers to order when requested by Hue. This has lead to a variety of different bottlings at different ages. This is one of two bottlings of the A.H. Hirsch Reserve as 15 year old (although the second was actually 16 by the time it was bottled). This release features the label with block text, similar to the Van Winkle Special Reserve releases produced around the same time (the second has a script style label). The majority of the the bourbon was later placed into steel tanks shortly after this, in order to prevent futher ageing. Van Winkle bottled some leftover casks at advanced ages, but the majority of the A.H. Hirsch Reserve was bottled from the tanks as a 16 year old in 2003.

Gordon Hue, who had maintained exclusive distribution rights to the Hirsch product despite the Van Winkle and Sazerac connections, eventually sold the brand to Preiss Imports who moved the subsequent and final bottling (technically re-bottling) to Kentucky Bourbon Distillers' Willett facility.

In his book Cowdery refers to the bourbon as one of the "best whiskeys I've ever tasted."

Mash bill contains 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley.

Important Notice

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Please note: Due to the various ages of bottles and their seals, condition of liquid is at the buyer's discretion and no claim can be lodged against failure/leakage in transit.