Sunday, May 6, 2012

If You Have A Hirsch, Drink It.

I'm already receiving enthusiastic feedback on the new A. H. Hirsch ebook.

Naturally, many people tell me their personal Hirsch stories. Some say they have a bottle or two, but are reluctant to open them due to their rarity and value. Allow me to give you permission to treat yourself. I say this for the following reasons.

1. The pure principle that whiskey is for drinking, not for looking at. The fullest way to appreciate what you have is to experience it. If you've never tasted the A. H. Hirsch bourbon and you can, what are you waiting for? A special occasion? Opening a bottle of A. H. Hirsch Special Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a special occasion. Experience is always worth more than expectation.

2. Don't pay too much attention to the 'soaring prices' you may hear about for A. H. Hirsch and products like it. They can be misleading. Legal restrictions on the resale of alcohol generally keep people from selling even very valuable bottles, so your supposed profit might be hard to realize. Likewise, when you see high retail prices, you might consider that it's not selling at that price and that's why the store still has it.

Have fun with it. Tell yourself and whoever you invite to share it with you that you are opening a $1,000 bottle of whiskey. How many chances will you have to do that?

A few people have reminded me that some stores didn't do very well with the Hirsch and eventually blew it out at bargain prices, such as $25 for the 16-year-old and $40 for the 20-year-old. One control state did a close-out of them so my correspondent visited as many state stores as he could, cleaning each out in turn. He still has a few bottles in reserve.

Remember this fun fact. All of the A. H. Hirsch bourbon was distilled in the spring of 1974. It first entered commerce in 1989. It was readily available in many retail outlets at sub-$100 prices for the next 20 years. It was only after Preiss did the $1,500 'farewell' decanter that people began to realize they had missed something.

I've also been reminded that it is not universally admired. I love the stuff, but that's just me.

I recently saw a spectacular whiskey collection that includes about 20 bottles of A. H. Hirsch, in every iteration except the 15-year-old.

If you are dying to taste it but don't have a bottle and don't know how to get one, keep your ear to the ground and ask around. Just remember that selling alcohol without a license, under any circumstances, is bootlegging and very illegal. Most of the people who have bottles they would like to sell would like to do so legally. Maybe someone cleverer than me can figure out a way to make that happen.

All of this is what makes it such a fascinating story.

1 comment:

BMc said...

I'd also like to add that trading bottles is illegal in many states. There is no federal law prohibiting it - I contacted the ATF, and they confirmed that they leave the specifics up to the states, at least involving bottles not transported across state lines - but in the legalese for state liquor regulations, you'll often see a ban on bartering or trading, as they consider it a type of sale. If you and the fellow trader have a license, then perhaps it's permitted, but private people swapping bottles is not.