Friday, January 16, 2015
A. H. Hirsch Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey Has Left the Building
It's always nice to know how a story ends, so I am pleased to report that the producer of A. H. Hirsch Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey at long last has no more of it to sell. The last three bottles, numbered 998, 999 and 1,000, are now owned by a small restaurant chain called The White Chocolate Grill. The picture above is of the tag on the box containing bottle number 1,000.
I won't try to tell the whole story of A. H. Hirsch Bourbon here, but I wrote a book about it if you're interested.
The label above is, by the way, wrong on at least two counts, both in the second line. The bourbon was famously distilled in Pennsylvania, not Kentucky, and though it was always claimed to be pot distilled it was, in fact, not.
In 2009, Preiss Imports decanted their remaining stock of the 16-year-old gold foil expression and rebottled it in crystal bottles, which they packed in wooden humidors, with a suggested retail price for the set of $1,499 each. The sets were individually numbered and there were exactly 1,000 of them.The humidor set was the last release of A. H. Hirsch Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
In 2011, Henry Preiss sold his company and his interest in A. H. Hirsch to Anchor, including the remaining inventory of Hirsch humidors.
In April, 2013, in a thread on StraightBourbon.Com, it was established that Anchor still had 800 of the humidor sets in inventory, still at the original price. The mystery at the time was why they didn't lower the price and blow them out. It had taken four years to sell 20 percent of the inventory, how long would it take to sell the rest?
There were also reports of a few more in distributor and retailer inventories, but no more than a handful. Nobody was coming off the original price by very much. The lowest retail price reported was about $1,350.
The White Chocolate Grill originally wanted to buy two sets but their distributor, per the producer, said they had to buy a four-set case, which they agreed to do. Bottle number 997 was accidentally broken by the distributor. (A moment of silence, please.) So they got three.
When The White Chocolate Grill tried to buy more they were told that was it, the cupboard is now bare.
They paid $925 each for them. Presumably, that was the original wholesale price. It is available at The White Chocolate Grill in Scottsdale, AZ. They plan to charge $89 for a 1.5 oz. pour.
This news just means the producer, Anchor, has exhausted its inventory. It is possible there are still a handful out there in distributor or retailer inventories.
There is a secondary market in A. H. Hirsch and bottles have also shown up in some auctions. The market seems to value the humidor and crystal bottle at $0. The value is in the whiskey, which Bourbon Blue Book shows at $883 for the 16-year-old gold foil, regardless of the packaging.