Hirsch Small Batch Reserve Bourbon

Hirsch Small Batch Reserve
Hirsch Small Batch Reserve

I am often torn when I go out for a drink between getting something that I know I love and venturing out and trying something new.

Today I met a friend for a drink and the Hirsch Small Batch Reserve bottle sort of ‘called to me’ from behind the bar.  After sampling the unforgettable rye white dog the other day from House Spirits Distillery, I was really craving a nice rye bourbon. (The day that House Spirits releases their rye, I’ll be down at the distillery stocking up!)

The bar I was at (Spints Ale House) had both the Hirsch Small Batch Reserve and the much more spendy 22 year Hirsch Reserve Rye. I had recently indulged in a very nice bottle of Parkers, so I decided to give the entry level “small batch reserve” a try.

It’s pretty amazing to me that the the 22 year sells at almost five times the price per bottle of the Hirsch Small Batch Reserve (which goes for around $35 a bottle). I’m not sure if that makes the small batch reserve a bargain or the 22 year a spendy treat (I’ll let you know after I try the 22 year).

I drank my glass of Hirsch Small Batch Reserve neat.  I probably should have added a small amount of distilled water into it as the initial sip was all fire and I think it really needed some water to open it up.  Hirsch weighs in at 92 proof (46% ABV), slightly higher than most bourbons (typically ringing in at 80 proof). I enjoy a firey spirit but once the fire passes I expect there to be a level of complexity and balance to the flavors.  With the Hirsch the fire gave way  to a nice oily caramel and sweet vanilla. These flavors don’t stick around long as they dissipate to a fairly short and underwhelming finish.

The Hirsch Small Batch Reserve does have some really nice qualities to it – I like its fire and is oily sweet texture. Some of the pieces are there of a great bourbon but not enough to really keep me coming back.

Hirsch Small Batch Reserve Rating :
Recommended – a good value bourbon but not best in class, also points off for a short finish.

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+Geoff Kleinman, is the founder, and managing editor of DrinkSpirits.com. He is a nationally recognized spirits columnist and staff reviewer for Whisky Advocate Magazine. Geoff's work has appeared in dozens of major magazines including Playboy Magazine, Black Book, and Mixology Magazine. He is a current sitting judge for the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, the founder of the Society of Modern Journalists, holds BAR certification from the Beverage Alcohol Resource Group, is a Certified Cognac Educator, and a Kentucky Colonel