The last, only and sadly soon to be gone pot still bourbon in America. A.H. Hirsh Reserve 16 yo Bourbon was made by the Mitchter distillery in Schaefferstown, PA until 1990 when a fire caused them to cease operation. The Mitchter Distillery was the oldest continuously operating distillery in the US with operation going back to 1752.
For those that don't know, a pot still is what is used for single malt scotch while almost everything else uses a Coffey still that is cheaper and faster but not necessarily better. You can read about pot and Coffey stills here if you want.
In the almost 15 years since the bottling of the A.H. Hirsh Reserve a number of bourbons have risen to the top but this remains the first bourbon ever given 5 stars by the Spirit Journal something that now happens only to a few outstanding bourbons.
I've included their review below because it is written better than I can do and I agree with it 100%.
This incredible bourbon was distilled in the spring of 1974 at the currently closed Michter's Distillery in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania, with a high proportion of rye. By law all bourbon must contain a minimum of 51% corn but this is the only one in our experience that echoes the sweet, nutty flavors of fresh picked white corn, fresh cooked out in the field it grew in. There's even a note of butter to complete the picture.
"Lustrous, rich medium-amber/sunset orange with copper/russet highlights, the tight, compact nose has sensuous fragrances of spiced orange, walnut, corn husk, a touch of resin, and, most predominantly, nougat. The layers of aroma unwrap like the delicate skins of an onion - it's a seductive and coy bourbon nose. A robust and polite bourbon in the mouth, with happily married tastes of caramel, oats, toffee, wood smoke, maple syrup, oak, controlled alcohol and raisins. Hirsch Reserve 16 year old received the first ever five star rating for a bourbon by The Spirits Journal, the authoritative voice of fine spirits.
"It's as seductive and coy a Bourbon nose as I've come across; in the mouth, this robust, but polite Bourbon confidently offers happily married tastes of caramel, oats, coffee, wood smoke, maple syrup, oak, controlled alcohol and raisins, there's even a slim trace of sweet sherry in the sublime, firm, heady aftertaste; clearly the best Bourbon I've evaluated for the Spirits Journal to date." Score: 5 stars, F. Paul Pacult.
Chances are you won't find this for under $85 anywhere anymore but if you can buy it or order it I'd highly recommend doing so. Have a drink of history.
Edited by AVB, 20 August 2007 - 05:40 PM.