Bourbon Reviews:




Bottling NameA. H. Hirsch Reserve (Gold Foil)
Bottled ByBuffalo Trace Distillery Frankfort,KY
TypeStraight Bourbon Whiskey
Alcohol content91.6 Proof
Availability US: Available Japan: Unknown Duty Free: Not Available Europe: Unknown
Mashbill InfoDistilled Spring 1974
Age16
Views (since 20080612) 32007
Bottling InfoDistilled by the now defunct Michter's distillery in PA, this bourbon is in my top 10 (along with its older aged 20 year version). There have been 3 bottlings of the 16 year old with the final bottling being the last stock left to be bottled of this fine whiskey. So before it is gone, be sure to grab yourself a bottle and enjoy.



Review from Bourbon Joe (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 2300, Created:20140622205916)
Purchased at:Binny's
Purchased for:49.00
Nose:Great nose. Leather, spices, brown sugar, carmel, vanilla, all tightly knit.
Taste:One taste screams "Michter's". Anyone who has had a lot of Michter's whiskey will identify this right away. A sublime whiskey.
Finish:Long sensuous fnish.
Overall:Dick Stoll and Everet Beam did an outstanding job on this one. This whiskey is for the ages.

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 2228, Created:20130809211844)
Purchased at:
Purchased for:$89 - I bought a bunch several years ago
Nose:Leather, rye, oak, vanilla, and the rye tweaks the nose more than the alcohol does. The nose of this last to be opened bottle says there may be a fight in the palate.
Taste:Ah, my palate remembers no better balance of the complexities of sweetness, oak, and spice than this. A veritable symphony parades (to mix my metaphors) across the mouth like a brass band. This bourbon has a well deserved reputation for greatness. I think the greatness lies in the subtle relationship between the original recipe (fairly high rye), the careful distillation, the quality of the barrels (suitable for longer aging)......... and I suspect, a careful selection process by the master distiller.
Finish:Impressive! The sweetness, the oaky dryness take it all home in style, great style.
Overall:In my opinion, while there may be bourbons that are its equal (or better, depending upon your palate), there are none its superior. For a high rye recipe, ultra aged bourbon, it has no equals (my opinion).

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 2072, Created:20120510181513, Updated:20120511174956)
Purchased at:Sigman Bottle Shop, Conyers, GA
Purchased for:$80?
Nose:Oaky rye, leather, nugmeg, light vanilla and caramel, and nuts are all present and accounted for. The nose is that of an ultra aged bourbon (no surprise), and promises that subltety that I often find in excellent older bourbons.
Taste:Very subtle and complex, with the tannins going to the edge of too much...... but not over. The sweetness is subdued.... but somewhat like a good dark chocolate. The rye bite is held in check and damped by those same tannins that hold the sweetness at bay. The tannins, nuts, and nutmeg play a throbbing base over against the chocolate and lighter spicy treble.
Finish:Not powerful, but moderately long, continuing the subtle theme, with a quite dry finish.
Overall:I have not reviewed this whiskey in over three years, and this is the last of this bottle, but I have another as yet unopened. This is an excellent whiskey, on the dry side to be sure, and no doubt too tannic to be called great by some folks. And, I am a bit less enamoured of it than I have been in the past............ Still, if it is not a truly exceptional bourbon, it is damn near it. It is one of those I call 'barely bourbon'.

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Review from Clayton (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1829, Created:20100403094652, Updated:20100403113742)
Purchased at:Perth, Western Australia
Nose:This Bourbon hits you head on with such a diversity of intense aromatics. It does it with both ease and authority.
Taste:The intensity of flavour is fantastic. On entry it glides across the palate and then unleashes such an array of flavours; corn, butterscotch, caramel.. I may as well shut up now as I can't do this beauty the justice it deserves and that bothers me no end. This Bourbon is in perfect balance, everything as it should be. The complexity of flavours keeps taunting me, it knows these notes are no match. Although medium bodied it has remarkable presence in your mouth. I just want some more!
Finish:Long, viscous and so pleasurable. Unquestionable the quality.
Overall:I feel so very very lucky to have had the pleasure of having a bottle of such a remarkable Bourbon - every visit is so hard to not just sit back, put some music on and devour it all drop by drop. This chameleon of a Bourbon I personally find such a challenge to the senses and yet such an absolute beauty.

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Review from Dump Bucket (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1637, Created:20090725212842)
Purchased at:overseas bottel
Info on this bottle:70cl bottle- 50 ml sample from Finwick
Nose:Nice nose. Richer than the normal gold foil. Very much like the Gold wax in the nose???. Vanilla, citrus and cream, some baking (desert) spices with some butter. Very light touch of leather that is blended in with the candy store nose here???. .
Taste:Nice, no aluminum taste in this one like the normal gold foil. The taste echos the nose very well.
Finish:A little more citrus in the finish than the taste and nose and the leather comes in at about 15-20 seconds.
Overall:I like this., If all of the Gold foils were like this, I would be buying them. This is like ACDetroits gold foil he opened. Hard to say with out a side by side to tell if this is just like the gold wax??? but I know for sure it is better than the 750ml gold foil I do have open.

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1518, Created:20090309184530, Updated:20090309191422)
Purchased at:
Nose:Astounding warm/rye/nutty/, leathery/oaky, nutmeggy/apricotty, brownsuggary/vanilly, cognacy delicate, dense constellation of complex aromas. Pop in a bit of luscious pecan pie and your taster is crying out for its share!
Taste:Soft corny rich sweetness with some nutty oaky flavors toward the front and middle, followed on hint of nutmeg and a rip of cinnamon and pepper spice that zings the back of the mouth into full alertness. This be's the real thang brothers and sisters of the spirits, it is too good!
Finish:Of a piece with the nose and taste...........just long enough and forceful enough! Balance Baby.
Overall:Take me to the River, Drop me in the Water (Talking Heads - 1975).

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1389, Created:20081216175139, Updated:20081216180836)
Purchased at:Sigman Bottle Shop
Purchased for:$89?
Nose:Soft, but deep. The aromas capture the nose with their sophisticated balance and complexity. There is some leather and nuts, some rye fostered tangerines, some apples that seep, seep into your nose. There is a bit of corny sweetness lounging in the background. A nose that is quite subtle and attention getting because it offers so much so effortlessly.
Taste:Light and old sweetness greets the tongue followed by surge of spice and oak. There is a silky smoothness born in the barrel that is downright pleasing. It gathers you up into its embrace and sooths your wayward spirit.
Finish:Warm, spicy, and slick as a baby's bottom!
Overall:'Tis my long-standing opinion that the best aged bourbons take something special from the barrel (much as cognac does) and give it a delicacy that defies description. It is like a chef's masterpiece wherein the ingredients are precisely selected, blended in beautiful harmony, cooked to perfection, and served to an appreciative palate.

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Review from BuffaloBill (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1173, Created:20080627021855) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:Boston
Purchased for:$76 (steal of a deal through a referral)
Info on this bottle:A. H. Hirsch Reserve - Spring 1974
Nose:Apricot is the predominant note. Mixed fruit compote. Apple peel. Orange marmalade, along with Orange blossoms and a rooty quality that runs throughout. Somewhat of an ether-like phenolic whiff that sustains itself throughout the nose, very pleasant and rare. It really shows its age...
Taste:Earthy. Old Wood. Mushrooms. Honey with dried fruit. Raisins. Mineral-like, and it delivers you back to the 70's. Old days... Good times I remember... Fun days... Days of simple pleasure... Drive-In movies, comic books and blue jeans... oh yah, this bourbon sings! It reminds me of a fine bottle of Clos de Tart. You can taste every element right down to the barrel.
Finish:Juicy and long. Extremely fine texture.
Overall:... to me it shows a divine sense of Organic. Highly concentrated and complex flavors. Exceptional maturity and very round. Jammy and rich. Old fashion butter-rum Lifesaver's come through after 30 minutes with salty sweetness and exquisite leather. It showed best in a Riedel Cognac XO 4400/70. After trying four different glasses I would highly suggest the XO to gain the full complexity of this magnificent bourbon. BB

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Review from spun_cookie (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1139, Created:20080614020752)
Purchased at:
Purchased for:too much :o)
Info on this bottle:Glass of Miek Gilberts
Nose:Benzene and other odd smells on vanilla and oak
Taste:Taste like ass. I cannot believe this is the same bottling as mine
Finish:Unpalatable
Overall:You can count the number of glasses of bourbon I have poured out (good or pseudo good bourbon) on one hand... this is in the count. This would ruin a flat diet coke that was 95 deg F

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 892, Created:20071109192353) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:Nearby
Purchased for:Not a factor
Nose:Not rich, not deep, but subtle, soft and seductive and illusive as it releases its treasures slowly. Never approach this bourbon if you are in a hurry. It has a complex story to tell, but only if you are a patient listener. Not a bourbon for the 'give me the bottom line' crowd. Lots of leather, some rye, and a few nuts in a warm concoction. Patience is the watch word. Time is of the essence here.
Taste:Everything about Hirsch takes time to unfold. Its sweetness is quite subdued by the wood, and its spice lags just beyond mid-palate when it explodes with the force of a mouse's sneeze. All the while various flavors drift in and out (if your buds are alert) of the dryness that is a prominent feature of this Hrisch
Finish:Moderate and moderately dry...............the sweetness is nearly lost to the wood, but how much is lost thereby?
Overall:When is a bourbon too dry? When does age overtake a bourbon? What is sublety in bourbon? How much does bourbon differ from bottle to bottle? If you think I know the answer to these questions, you are barking the wrong tree. But this particular bottle of Hirsch seems much the drier than the others I have had and less complex and interesting. Does this difference lie with Mike or with the Hirsch? Most likely it is Mike who displays a different face...........but then, this is a different bottle of Hirsch, and how can I not trust my own taste?...........Of course I must.............must I not?

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Review from Big Al (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 881, Created:20071104130837)
Purchased at:Gordons, Waltham, MA
Nose:[Olfactory impressions]
Taste:[Description of the initial taste impression]
Finish:[Description of the lingering taste impression]
Overall:The best I've had, with Blanton's a close second. Keeping one for my son's wedding and one for when I sell the business. A treasure, this one.

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Review from spun_cookie (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 866, Created:20071022210503)
Purchased at:Internet Wines & Spirit
Purchased for:$89
Info on this bottle:Gold foil, Distilled in the spring of 1974
Proof Of this Bottle:91.6
Nose:Cherries, light oak, with touches of vanilla. I like it.
Taste:A little apricot with a soft sweet vanilla taste (not a sweet drink, but the memory of sweet vanilla)
Finish:Long lasting smooth finish that gets better at the 15-30 second mark. Oak, with a lingering of vanilla and cherry
Overall:Much better the second time I had it. Priced too high at ~$100, but I will enjoy this bottle and be curious about the 1972 and 1973 distillations

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 711, Created:20070207143824, Updated:20070212131240)
Purchased at:Sigman Bottle Shop, Conyers, GA
Purchased for:$79
Info on this bottle:Gold foil
Proof Of this Bottle:91.6
Nose:The Hirsch nose belongs to itself alone. I am not going to try to disect this nose aside from saying you are treated to leather, nuts, clover, and some warm rye (yes, your nose can be warmed by an aroma, regardless of the aroma's temperature). Unlike some other notable bourbons, Hirsch doesn't boast of its bourboness, there is no need. No aroma stands alone in this bourbon and so well do they confederate that the aromas remain wonderfully understated and sophisticated.
Taste:The taste of Hirsch 16 YO bourbon is as good as it gets in my experience. No part of your taste apparatus is left untouched, but none is overworked. This is what I mean by 'balance' in bourbon. In my opinion, bourbon lovers, drinking Hirsch is just plain a great experience and a hearty 'YES' to life.
Finish:The nose, taste, and finish of Hirsch 16 YO bourbon is a complete package that is totally consistent throughout. It is of a piece. The finish adds the last touches to a masterpiece.
Overall:A. H. Hirsch 16 YO Gold Foil bourbon is not always and on every occasion my favorite. But it is always a great bourbon in my experience. If you want 'mystery' in bourbon, go to Hirsch; if you want 'balance' in bourbon, go to Hirsch; if you want 'beauty' in bourbon, go to Hirsch; if you want 'sophistication' in bourbon, go to Hirsch; if you think bourbon is not the equal of other grest spirits, go to Hirsch; if you want aroma and taste that affirm life, go to Hirsch! Some bourbons are good for this occasion, some for that, but Hirsch is for all occasions, it is never out of step with you. I am sorry it is not available to every person who claims to be a true bourbon lover, because it is one of a kind!

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Review from warhawk (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 698, Created:20070201012657, Updated:20070518141851) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:HiVee
Purchased for:$80
Proof Of this Bottle:91.6
Nose:Soft and silky.
Taste:Complex, This is the one bourbon that I love the taste of so much I long for the next sip. A true challenge. I sip and want another sip immediatly but resist to allow for the complete finish of the last sip. I really have a hard time reaching for another bourbon in my collection now that I have a bottle of Hirsch. My bottle is half gone and I am already lamenting the day that it runs dry.
Finish:This has the smoothest finish of any bourbon I have tasted. This is one area I feel is most challenging to a bourbon and the one area A.H. Hirsch has eclipsed the others.
Overall:The problem is I know what I like but don't have the experience to put it into words. 16 year Hirsch is the most expensive whiskey in my collection and also my very favorite. I am going to run out and buy another bottle for fear that I may not find it again.

05/18/07 - UPDATE - I just got an ENTIRE CASE from my favorite liqor store! Hooray! I now have 16 bottles to horde.

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 551, Created:20060726125735, Updated:20061106160613)
Purchased at:Sigman Bottle Shop, Conyers, GA
Purchased for:$69
Nose:A subtle nose that seems almost like you stepped into a tack room........with the windows wide open and the aroma from the flowers and clover just outside creeping in. There is a bit of oak and nuts to go with some brown sugar. Not a strongly aromatic nose, but very pleasing and classy. Stick your nose in the glass as far as you want there is little alcohol presence.
Taste:The vanilla and corn sweetness greet the tip of the tongue while at mid-palate the rye spice and fruit (apricots?) stroll in. Toward the back of the mouth the oak dryness presents with a wee skosh of alcohol. I am reminded of a female Tango dancer.........exotic, sensuous, but under precise control, always on the verge of coming undone, but the maturity of the dancer and of this whiskey never take a misstep.
Finish:Long lasting, smooth, preparing you for the next sip.
Overall:Were I to want to get roaring drunk (which I never do, mind you), this is the bourbon I would reach for. It goes down so nicely that you think you could drink it the livelong day. It has what I call great 'balance'. As soon as I pick up the bottle of Hirsch, Barleycorn starts his whining, 'Me too, me too'. Have you ever seen a mostly hound dog with a hang dog look? You would give him a sip too, brothers and sisters. When I am sipping this whiskey, I am in the catbird seat..... I am king of the world...........every night is a Saturday and every day is a Sunday!! Vive Le Roi! Long live the king!!

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Review from bourbonv (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 359, Created:20060311062419)
Purchased at:Bourbon's Bistro Bar
Purchased for:20.00
Info on this bottle:Normal Bottling
Proof Of this Bottle:91.6
Nose:Rich Oak with Vanilla and Caramel and a hint of Fine Leather.
Taste:Maple Syrup and caramel with a little oak. Dark fruits - dates, with a little nutmeg spice.
Finish:Sweet caramel to start with a dry oak wood finish.
Overall:Drink it neat.

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Review from MikeK (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 292, Created:20051004181935)
Purchased at:A gift from Mike; Conyers, GA
Purchased for:Free!!
Info on this bottle:see topic: http://www.bourbonenthusiast.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1993
Nose:Black cherries, holiday spices, and more black cherries. Subtler hints of cinnamon, peppermint, and cotton candy. Close your eyes and it's Christmas morning in your flannel pajamas in front of the fire.
Taste:Full body, rich and creamy caramel, mint, oak. Nice balance of fruit, caramel, and oak.
Finish:Three days long. Black cherries and currants. Chocolate, burnt caramel.
Overall:Marvelous. Very rich and full from nose to finish. Complex. The black cherry component is quite unique, almost like a red wine. A bit pricey, but worth it I think for the quality and uniqueness.

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Review from gillmang (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 270, Created:20050902105853, Updated:20050902233159)
Purchased at:Premier Liquors, Buffalo, NY and LCBO Vintages, Toronto (see below)
Purchased for:approx as below, , double in Canada
Info on this bottle: I mingled 50/50 a gold wax and gold foil bottle, the wax was from Buffalo, the foil from Toronto
Nose:The nose is much as Mike described it above but I get faint old oak, maybe that is what Mike terms leather.
Taste:I agree with Mike too that the taste trumps the nose. This is a deep-tasting bourbon, very rich, soft, with good wood - slightly decayed in a good way - and more than a hint, well-integrated, of a strong rye component. I get nuts and a baked mushroom-like quality, fudge-like too, like a good chocolate truffle if the chocolate was scented with good whisky or brandy
Finish:Slight bitterness in the aftertaste (maybe oak tannins), so you know it is a sour mash whiskey and not an old Cognac, and that's fine.
Overall:Very very good. Top quality all the way. Showing its age though and generally I am not a fan of very old whiskey but (as always in life) there are exceptions, this is one of them (others: Elijah Craig 18 year old and most of the ORVW bourbons and ryes - as an example of one less to my taste, Kentucky XO and some of the Rowan Creeks). But the Hirsch 16 is in a class of its own and so is (was) the Hirsch 20 year old which had an even softer, rounder mouthfeel and taste.

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 167)
Purchased at:Sigman Bottle Shop, Conyers, GA
Purchased for:$59
Nose:Leather, spices, brown sugar, carmel, vanilla, nuts, all very subtle. Not a powerful nose and just a little hint of wood for something that spent 16 years in oak. Let it breath a bit and the nose opens to a fuller ripeness with floral elements.
Taste:The taste is better than the nose. Very smooth with nice corn and vanilla sweetness on the front, then nuts and spices that disperse to the rest of the mouth. All elements are in excellent balance, with depth and complexity.
Finish:A moderately long finish with lingering sweetness and only a slight complementary alcohol burn.
Overall:I would describe this as a cerebral bourbon, one you sip, enjoy, and cogitate on. It is challenging in its subtleness and has no serious flaws. No taste jumps out at you, but the complexity grows as you savor it. It is a 'model' bourbon. Emphasize any one of this bourbon's complex elements and you have a new, different, but also wonderful whiskey. My opinion is that Hirsch 16 YO is a perfect place to begin the journey away from ordinary, but very good bourbons, into the world of exceptional bourbons. As you can tell, I like it, I recommend it, and I will have it in my liquor cabinet as long as I can lay my hands on it.

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