Whisky Advocate

Review: Hirsch Rye, 25 year old

January 10th, 2011


Hirsch Rye, 25 year old, 46%, $200

Enjoyable, dark sweet notes: molasses, maple syrup, fig, grilled corn. The spices are there, too (cool mint, cocoa powder, warming cinnamon, nutmeg). They’re well-rounded and show up more toward the finish (along with some tobacco and polished leather). Soft, reserved, and slightly past its prime, but it still maintains its dignity.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 92

18 Responses to “Review: Hirsch Rye, 25 year old”

  1. lawschooldrunk says:

    How does this compare to other hirsches? (like the 16yo or 20yo)

    Do you know how much more stock of this is left?

    • John Hansell says:

      To start, I must clarify that this “Hirsch” is from a different distillery than the previous “A. H. Hirsch” whiskeys. The A. H. Hirsh 16 and 20 yr. old you speak of was from the Michter’s Distillery in Pennsylvania. This Hirsch (and other Hirsch bottlings that don’t have the “A.H.”) are from an undisclosed distillery, but not Michter’s.

      Now getting to your specific question: this 25 year old seems mellower, with more wood, than I recall the “no longer for sale” A. H. Hirsch 16 and 20 yr old being. (Although I haven’t done them side-by-side.)

      • Mashbill says:

        Apples to oranges. Could you please compare it with the Hirsch 21yr and 22yr Ryes previously released?

        • John Hansell says:

          I agree. I was just answering his question. I’m not sure if I have samples of the younger Hirsch whiskeys. If I do, I’ll compare and report back.

        • John Hansell says:

          Okay, the folks at Preiss Imports were kind enough to send me a sample of the 22 year old (and 25 year old).

          There’s a big difference between the two. The 22 still shows crisp, vibrant rye spice notes. If you want more rye, this is the one to get.

          The 25 shows more of the wood and less rye. More caramelized sugar. More resin, tobacco, and leather.

  2. JWC says:

    All these old ryes from undisclosed distiller(ies) makes you go “hmmmm”. Given the age of the ryes, I would suspect that the list is fairly short.

  3. Kevin K says:

    How does this compare to the Rittenhouse Rye 25 Year?

  4. Ethan Smith says:

    Is this the same “Distilled in 1983” Hirsch Rye that was bottled a few years back as a 21yo?????

    • Steve Fox says:

      Yes it is the same as the 21yr and there was a 22yr it just keeps getting older

      • Ethan Smith says:

        Good to know. I’ll see if I can find a bottle. I was born in 1983, so this rye sort of has a special appeal to me. It ages each year just like me! I had also asked around as to the actual source of this rye and no one seems sure. Some speculate it’s old Medley, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to confirm it.

        • mashbill says:

          It’s either Medley or Bernheim. KBD may have gotten a stash of both some time ago. In any event, the Hirsch 25 may be the last of it. It’s also the same batch as BMH, Vintage 21 and 23, and LeNell’s Red Hook Rye.

          • sam k says:

            Wasn’t LeNell’s a single barrel?

          • sam k says:

            Wasn’t LeNell’s a single barrel, and not part of a batch?

          • Mashbill says:

            My use of the word “batch” refers to the number of barrels that KBD obtained of the 1983 Rye, whether it was Bernheim or Medley. Sure, she picked a barrel out of that “batch” for Red Hook. The others came from other barrels from the same run.

      • John Hansell says:

        Thanks Steve for the update. That’s what I figured. Makes logical sense, and is similar to what some other companies have done with their older rye (and bourbon) whiskeys.

  5. John Hansell says:

    The remains of my Hirsch 25 rye sample is gone. (It was just a mini sample.) I’ve asked for another one. If I get it, I will compare it head on to my Rittenhouse Rye 25 (and maybe some of the earlier Hirsch ryes).

    On another topic. These days, $200 isn’t a bad price for a 25 year old whiskey–regardless of what kind it is.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      It’s not that great a price either, John– Especially in American whisky, which tends to run a lot cheaper.

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