Hirsch Single Barrel caused a huge buzz in the cornwater streets last month after it was rumored to be Shasta Willet purple top. This is precisely the rampant speculation that the bourbon world thrives on.
It’s not like the marketing for Hirsch has ever made sense. Most bourbon marketing is just finding a random antebellum Southern dude and mythologizing them for holding keys or securing a bank loan. So much of modern bourbon is taking money from other people, made in other industries, to buy distillate made by other anonymous people, hiding the source, relabeled by a PR team, fictionalizing a historical figure, to “release” to the backroom of a store that somehow sold enough terrible VEEV vodka, to be able to earn one of these bottles that the underpaid employees then sell on Facebook as a de facto wage stipend to a guy in middle management who will never enjoy it and end up losing it in a divorce proceeding. SWEET BARDSTOWN LIQUIDS.
Hirsch is now made by the household name HOTALING: who we all buy our Luxardo cherries from, Nikka and Old Potrero fame. Anchor is just clipping right along. At least it isn’t another godless Buffalo Trace product. The transparency of 7 years, 7 months, dark as dehydrated trucker piss, and what appears to be cask strength.
Nose is cracker jacks, boston baked beans, and dried apricots. The waft doesn’t scream Willett to me, but the palate brings things closer to that realm. At 125 pf it doesn’t feel as abusive as you would expect, more like breadcrumbing love bombing ex-bf who loves the movie DRIVE, and you can wrangle this without a watery proofback. It has a lot of Darjeeling tea meets Sees candy butterscotch sucker, dry but with a lively saccharine quality showing its youth. The finish is warm but not excoriating, it crackles with a churro and Boot Barn energy. Industrial grade confectionary solvent.
So is this dollar store Willett? If you’re a dude who wears TravisMathew and has the new Ford Bronco as your desktop wallpaper, then sure. Those purple tops never get opened anyway so it’s like Fox’s Joe Millionaire, it is the trashy fun we had along the way cashing in.