Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey

Distilled by Heaven Hill.

Bernheim Wheat Whiskey
from the Heaven Hill Distillery Facebook page.

ABV: 45% 90 proof. Age: 7 years.
Mashbill: Winter wheat, corn (maize) and barley.

You may have heard that this is similar to a wheater bourbon so what’s the difference? Bourbon has a mash bill of at least 51% corn, the rest being other cereal grains, and aged in new, charred oak barrels. Most have a mash bill of corn, rye and barley: But in wheater bourbons, wheat replaces the rye as the second most common grain. With this change we gain a sweeter, smooth flavor, which many drinkers enjoy.

Heaven Hill took a typical bourbon wheater recipe and flipped the two main grains: The primary grain is over 51% wheat, the next is corn, and the third is rye. Thus, this is a wheat whiskey.

How is it? What they say “Wheat gives the Whiskey a softer taste than Bourbon. This Wheat Whiskey has sweet aromas of vanilla and honey, and flavors of toffee, berries and spice with fresh mint.”  Okay, fine. Now let’s try it ourselves, and see what our experience is:

Nose: buttery, subtle.

Palate: On first opening the bottle, I thought that it was Ok. However, on my second and third tries, a couple of weeks later, there was a noticeable improvement in taste. It’s a common phenomenon that opened whiskeys have a slight oxidation, changing the profile of esters and other organic molecules that give it flavor. This went from being an “okay” bottle to a “really good one”.

Palate: a characteristic wheat sweetness with notes of wood, citrus, and corn. Also detecting a slight hint of mint.

Despite other people comparing this to wheated bourbons I don’t really find much similarity to Maker’s Mark or Weller wheaters. This just has its own unique flavor.

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