Round 1b of the 2018 BourbonGuy.com Bottom Shelf Brackets features number 2 seed Hirsch Selection Kentucky Straight Corn Whiskey versus Number 3 seed Two Stars Bourbon.
Hirsch Selection Kentucky Straight Corn Whiskey is a Limited Edition straight corn whiskey. But wait? Why would a Limited Edition be in the Bottom Shelf Brackets? Well, mostly because the price was right. I found it on a shelf in Minneapolis for $16.99. I haven't seen it anywhere else, so I'm going to guess this is an inexpensive shelf turd from a few years ago. So, now you know. This has no age statement so it is at least 4 years old. It states it was aged in used barrels.
Two Stars bourbon is a Total Wine exclusive bourbon produced by the Clear Springs Distilling Co. Clear Springs is a dba used by Sazerac when they produce house brands for stores. Last I heard (2016) this one was a product of the Barton distillery, though it is possible that has changed by this point.
These were tasted blind in the following order. My thoughts on each are from before the reveal.
Hirsch Selection: Kentucky Straight Corn Whiskey
Purchase Info: $16.99 for a 750mL bottle at Surdyk's Liquor and Cheese Shop, Minneapolis, MN
Details: 45% ABV, non-age stated.
Produced by: Preiss Imports
Nose: Delicate. Almost a white wine note and brown sugar. After sitting a bit a vinegar note flashes across the nose before disappearing again
Mouth: Cooling and thin at first. As it sits in the mouth a sweet baking spice note develops.
Finish: Starts almost nonexistent but a gentle burn develops after a little bit of time.
Pre-Reveal Thoughts: This could be a wonderful whiskey for a white wine drinker. I find it interesting, but not something I'd come back to.
Purchase Info: $17.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Total Wine, Eagan, MN.
Details: 43% ABV.
Produced by: Clear Springs Distilling Company (Sazerac)
Nose: Almond, brown sugar, nutmeg.
Mouth: Gentle at first with more spice developing as it sits in the mouth. Almond and mint.
Finish: Warmer than the mouth. Lingering bitter almond, baking spice and mint.
Pre-Reveal Thoughts: This is more to my tastes than whiskey #1.
I'm not sure either of these would have won if they had drawn a different matchup. They are both pretty meh. They are strangely similar. Both of these start very much the same, they are both gentle and both take time to develop in the mouth. But at the end the day, I like where Two Stars ends up better than Hirsch Corn. Winner: Two Stars.
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