Jan 23, 2009

Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey

For my first foray into Bourbon reviews, I figured what better way to start off than with a product I’ve never had before. I received this bottle of Bernheim’s Wheat Whiskey (distributed by Heaven Hill Distilleries) as a gift from a coworker over the holidays last December and have been itching to open it up and try it out — the open bottles of Knob Creek and Woodford Reserve did their best to delay that opening.

Having never heard of this particular product, I had to do a bit of research to learn more about it. Apparently, Bernheim is the only company currently making whiskey that is primarily based on wheat (in this case winter wheat). While bourbons have to use at least 51% corn in their recipes, the Original Wheat Whiskey employs 51% wheat (there’s still corn in the mix), thus removing the “bourbon” label. That said, Bernheim still crafts their product to the same strict standards as bourbon.

Label: Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey


The Bernheim whiskey is much lighter than the other bourbons I have on my liquor shelf. It’s a very light amber in color and looks great with a single ice cube floating in the glass.


You can immediately tell a difference in this one with the first sniff. It’s much lighter nose gives it a delicate characteristic. There’s some decent sweetness to the nose as well as a little grassiness from the dominate wheat in the recipe.


Much like the nose, this whiskey is light and delicate on the tongue with a great sweetness. It’s got a refined character that finishes clean and leaves a bit of the wheat fading as you swallow. There’s also a nice hint of vanilla in the mix, but it’s subtle.


I actually ended up comparing this to a small splash of Woodford Reserve after the first few sips and there’s a world of difference. The Benheim’s is so much lighter and clean. It’s quite dry for a bourbon/whiskey and it’s unlike any other small batch product I’ve had in the past. It’s refined, delicate presence was refreshing and I’m pretty sure that affected how slowly I finished the glass, savoring each sip.

I’d wholeheartedly recommend this to any fan of small batch bourbons that are looking for something a little different.

Rating: 4/5

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