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

A.H. Hirsch Finest Reserve 1974 20 Year Old 1990s

Lot: 5015444

A.H. Hirsch Finest Reserve 1974 20 Year Old 1990s

Winning Bid: £5,400
(Reserve has been met) This lot currently has: 20 bids

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)
20 Year Old
Pennsylvania, USA
Official / Old Commonwealth
Cask Type: 
Bottled Strength: 
91.6 US Proof / 45.8%
Bottle Size: 
Distillery Status: 
product Details

A.H. Hirsch Finest Reserve 1974 20 Year Old 1990s

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 is 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 earlier 1990s bottlings. Van Winkle's ledgers show that he was drip-fed orders for the 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 the 20 year old red wax bottling in Van Winkle's trademark green-glass cognac-style bottles. This is the only release bottled from the spirit when it was 20 years old, and the oldest too.

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.