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Bernheim Original

Average score from 15 reviews and 26 ratings 85

Bernheim Original

Product details

  • Brand: Bernheim
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 45.0%

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@Megawatt
Bernheim Original

Nose: very bourbon-like but the sweetness is creamier. Moist vanilla cake. With lemon buttercream icing! Decadent sweetness atop rich, toasted oak. Marvellous aroma.

Taste: full-bodied, with big sweetness to match the nose. Lots of oak. Drinks like a bourbon but the taste in unique.

Finish: long and oak-driven, as expected. Just a tad bitter at the back of the mouth.

Balance: this wonderful whiskey came as a surprise, especially after seeing a few lukewarm reviews describing it as flat and tasteless. The wheat really shines with a dominant vanilla profile. Very well-made and balanced. 7 years of aging seems about perfect.

@Megawatt I agree with you, the sweetness is creamy. I like it a lot even if I would not rate iT over 90. Something interesting is that I find that wheat whiskies are getting spicier with air exposure. After a year opened, I would have qualify a bottle of Bernheim I had as spicy and that is as a whiskey not as a wheat whiskey.

There are a few big flavour buffs who find Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey to be too mild-mannered for their taste. I can tell you, though, of the many noobies and intermediate experience whisky lovers for whom I have poured 25 whiskies including many big names, Bernheim Original is among the top 3 or 4 of most universally well-liked among all whiskies sampled.

@Frost

I just found a new friend.

Nose: Bread, gingerbread, oak, cereal, cinnamon, vanilla

Taste: Oak, brown sugar, sherbet, ripe tropical fruit

Finish: Peppers, oak

I checked back on the bottle in month four and seven and it continues to open up. A consistent and finely balanced expression from the nosing to the finish. Lovely stuff.

@Victor I have not had a chance to share this one with friends. I'm sure they'll like it once they try it. This is really a different taste to other American whiskey and deserves a spot in the bar.

@Frost, succinct and relevant review. I've served Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey to a lot of people, and it is very hard to find anyone who does not like it. Heaven Hill strikes again.

@Robert99

I opened this bottle about a year ago. I didn't like it then. It was way to sweet and the wheat cream flavor was covering everything being more like oatmeal. So I left it unattended for 10 months, just sniffing it from time to time. Progressively the sweetness recessed and the spices came back. On the nose you also have some white oak with vanilla, a floral note and something fruity making me think of a port finish (just a trace of it). The wheat is still there but just enough to give a smoothness really enjoyable. Air gives bourbon like spices.

On the palate, the floral note is more present so is the alcohol givint an unexpected but welcome little bite. Then the palate translate the nose without anymore surprise.

The finish brings back the red fruits in a subtle way and leave you with a hint of a sweet Pablum (baby food). Those who really have a sweet tooth will prefer Bernheim just after being uncorked. But those who has a limit to the sweetness they can tolerate will be well advise to wait many months before sipping and they will be rewarded with more complexity. At the end, it is an easy every day drink.

@Matthieu

Oops, forgot to review that one. I've had it for quite a while now.

Drunk neat from a bottle that is down to a third of its volume and has first been opened well over a year ago.

Nose: It's remarkably light. It smells fresh and sweet, like a desert. Mainly cinnamon and vanilla, with some fresh-cut grass and wood in the mix.

Taste: It is lightly sweet (light caramel) with some citrus taste. Again, very light, so trying to analyse the taste profile is quite a challenge; it is so much easier to simply sit down and enjoy.

Finish: French toast. Gentle spices (cinnamon) and fresh bread are left behind after the whisky leaves the mouth. Slightly minty from the alcohol prickling the mouth.

Balance: Light and easy drinking is the name of the game here. It's a change of pace from in-your-face bourbons and very sweet (sometimes cloyingly so) canadian whiskies. They set out to make something different and I must say they really succeeded here.

Will I buy again?: It's quite different from what generally made in North America, so I probably will, though the price is making me think twice. It's a light whisky, in a style that is quite different from the mainstream, and that makes its long-term place in my bar quite secure. If anything, it shares a function similar to the Redbreast 12: a light and easy whisky to share with newcomers to spirits.

@Matthieu, thanks for a very nice review. I think that you are one who very much enjoys the taste of wheat in whiskey, as e.g. with your affection for Maker's 46. One day you and I will drink a bunch of Van Winkle and William Larue Weller together.

When I have included Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey in large group tastings, almost everyone likes it. Yes, it is very light, but quite pleasant. Be careful with an old bottle, though. I saw mine go seriously off after about 2 years.

'Expensive' is relative to where you are buying it. Down here you can pick up a bottle of Bernheim Original for $ 31.88 total, and that is not even a sale price.

Yes, from my limited experience, I appear to prefer wheat over rye. I believe it probably allows the oak to shine through more easily than rye and allows vanilla and cinnamon flavors to be more dominant (both of which I love).

Of course, expensive is a regional concept, but if I were to bring back a couple of bottles from south of the border, I would definitely pick up stuff that is not readily available in Québec.

@MaltActivist

I started drinking whisky only because of my love for bourbons. Big bold personalities unashamed of smothering you with flavors whereas most Scottish single malts chose to remain restrained and courteous.

And Bernheim Original was one of the first that I managed to get my hands on.

The nose is an intense pounding of warm chocolate and maple syrup with squished blue berries and raisins. All poured into a bowl of steaming hot caramel marchiato with a few cardamom pods.

The intensity continues on the palate with the same clove infused maple syrup drizzled on a chocolate orange cake. Fantastic.

The long finish is once again bristling with chocolate covered cloves.

This is brilliant stuff. Unafraid and brash with a wagon full of attitude.

@tabarakRazvi, don't forget to mention that this is a WHEAT WHISKEY. It does share the new oak aging with bourbon. Glad you like Bernheim Original. I do too.

This might be the head of my next buy list

@Victor

When I give tastings I am often amazed at how many people love the flavour profile of a wheated whiskey...amazed because there are so few wheat-dominant whiskeys on the market. Those wheat-dominant whiskeys which are present are often very very popular, such as Van Winkle bourbons or Parkers Heritage Collection Wheated bourbons. I have to think that there will be more wheated products available in the future, many more. This review is of this bottle in its first year, in its prime. I am doing this review largely from memory, for this is a whiskey I have sampled many times and used as an example of the flavours of wheat at many group tastings. This is called wheat whiskey because it is majority wheat. The mashbill comes in at 51% wheat, 39% corn, 10% malted barley. There is no age statement on the bottle. Online estimates of 5 years were given for the early releases

Nose: gentle nose, that unique melding of wheat and oak, like wheat-berry hot cereal with just a hint of brown sugar; pleasant, slightly sweet, but with a good dry balance. The wood is good but with a young-tasting whiskey like this, not great

Palate: lovely and mellow on the palate, a good translation of the nose flavours. The wood is decent and pleasant but not excellent. The wheat tastes very nice

Finish: medium length, quite mellow, understated, in the same vein as all which precedes...

Balance: almost everyone to whom I have served Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey has liked it. This whiskey is for mellow moods and moments. It is not for thrill seekers

Hi Victor, I totally agree that this whisky is for mellow moods. I know it's a wheated whisky but it's funny that for me the first thing I was thinking of is a big bowl of oatmeal with a gigantic amount of sugar. It is too sweet for my taste so I let my bottle unattended for a few months. The interesting part is that it is starting to become more interesting as the sweetness and cereal nose recessed, the spices come forward and they look a lot like a high rye mashed bourbon. I prefer rye to bourbon, but sometime I found that they develop a chemical nose when they are intense and not from good quality so whith this wheat whisky there is no chemical and it's mellowing the harsh that comes sometime whith spices. For those who loves the rancio, it is not for you; but for those who are in a gentle mood but usually like a thriller a recommend that you let your bottle open for a while and you will get a more interesting product with a better balance to it. My bottle is still at 90% full but I think it will go down at a higher pace now. Maybe I will comment this whisky again and let you know how its evolved in the future.

J

As far as I know this is the only wheat whisky made in America. Distinct from a wheated bourbon.

Nose: Sweet spices of cinnamon, cooked vanilla, some toasted notes of oak, a slight light custard creaminess, some touches of raw alcohol.

Palate: lightly honeyed, large hits of vanilla sweetness, cinnamon spices, hints of toasted white bread, a bit of ginger, also possibly the slightest hints of a hazelnut kind of nuttiness.

Finish: slightly drying, very sweet, heavy on bourbon like oak tannins, light sugary notes, hints of toast.

Very very sweet, also very smooth. Good on the rocks and as a mixer. I'm sure it could put a spin on a few cocktails as well. But still, it's for the dedicated sweet-tooth.

@Wills

Got me a sample of another extreme. This one is extreme, because it is a 100% Wheater. It is extreme, but in a gentle way.

The nose reminds me of the Maker's Mark Red Seal, something which isn't surprising me because of the high Wheat fraction in the MM. There is vanilla and buttery tones. It's like wheat-bread or toast.

The palate is very round and sweet. The Bernheim has a medium body. There is caramel, whitebread, a light oak influence (not very spicy) and some eucalyptus at the end.

The finish is short with a slight bittersweetness.

Overall a light and quaffable summer-dram. Not very complex but solid crafted.

Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey is actually 51-39-10 wheat/corn/malted barley, but it is true that wheat is the dominant flavour. Bernheim Original is a mild-mannered whiskey which is generally easily liked by people who are willing to like mild-mannered whiskeys. Big Flavours Club whisky buffs will often find it rather tame to their tastes.

Well that's interesting. I thought the Bernheim is the only Bourbon (or whiskey at all) which is made from a 100% wheat-mash. Do you know the formula of the mashbill for the MM?

Normally I do like the intense drams more but there are also moments where I really enjoy the lighter ones. And this is a really easy-going dram.

@whiskyjourney

Wheat Whiskies are a bit of an outlier in the Bourbon world.

In order to be classified as a Wheat Whiskey, you must have at least 51% Wheat in the mashbill. (the grains that make up your recipe) In this case, I believe Bernheim uses exactly 51% with the remainder being mostly corn and barley.

Usually you would see Wheat used as a compliment in a mashbill. It is a bit fragile to work with, but the reward you get for its inclusion is softer and gentler whiskey, filing off the rough edges that can be left by the more common corn and rye mixes.

Generally called 'wheaters', these are few and far between, but when done properly are a wonderful joy to imbibe. The most popular one is likely Maker's Mark which is high in Wheat, but I am still looking forward to trying Dry Fly from Spokane, Washington and others.

All in due time...for this evening, I'm kicking back with some Bernheim Wheat Whiskey, part of the already huge Heaven Hill Distillery's line of products. It's namesake is the historic Bernheim Distillery in Louisville Kentucky honoring bourbon legend Isaac W. Bernheim.

Tasting Notes:

Appearance: Like looking at sunlight through tinted glass

Nose: Nice and sweet, caramel, vanilla

Palate: Honey, Multi-Grain Bread, Toffee, little peppery kick

Finish: Rather quick...too quick quite frankly...but certainly a gentle goodbye...super smooth

Overall:

This gentle Bourbon has the softness of a Tempur-Pedic pillow. There are little to no extremes here. There is wood, but not a ton, and overall it is certainly pleasant. I applaud this wheater for what it is...inoffensive and middle of the road in every facet. I would not turn it down, but I would also not exactly hunt it down either. I kind of wanted it to throw a bit more of that winter wheat into my face and be more aggressive, but it was just so darn polite. Still, a lovely drink, and I'd enjoy giving it a spot in a head to head blind tasting with Dry Fly and MM and maybe even a craft wheater to mix it up a bit and see how it fares...could lead to a higher score.

Had a dram last month. I wasn't blown away. Tasty but not in a sophisticated way, at least to my palette. 'Course I drank it after a dram of Bookers and that's damn good stuff, so perhaps my 'buds were a tad jaded.

@rigmorole I totally agree with you. It was just kind of blah. I could see you experiencing the same thing after enjoying some Bookers! Bookers is loaded with punch and fun, probably made the Bernheims seem bland and tame.

@dbk

“Wheat” whiskey is a rather old kind of spirit, by New World standards anyway, but it has laid dormant for some time. Continuing along its playful streak, Heaven Hill reintroduced the category with Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey, the namesake whiskey of their newer distillery.

In terms of mash bill, Bernheim Original is exactly what you’d expect it to be. Wheat has a very mild flavor compared to, say, rye; hence, its historical disadvantage in the market. (For instance, it disappeared entirely in the Canadian market once “rye” whisky was introduced there.) So, as you can imagine, Bernheim Original relies on the wheat only insofar as it has to by US law: the mash bill is 51% wheat, and the remainder is largely corn, with some malted barley to finish.

The nose is gentle; soft as a whisper, really. Slowly, notes of honeycomb, vanilla, and baking spices emerge, with subtler hints of toasted marshmallow.

The palate is light and fruity. Vanilla appears again, alongside some banana and hefty spice. It is nicely warming.

Initially, this whiskey did not impress me at all. I found it anodyne and easily forgotten. Over time, however, it has grown on me little by little. It’s uncomplicated and unfussy—and perhaps not worth the price tags with which I’ve seen it associated—but it has its charms.

@talexander

Well, it's 12:34am and I can't sleep. Maggie will get me up at 6am so I need something to occupy my brain. How about a wheat whiskey?

Bernheim is a straight wheat whiskey, the first new American whiskey since Prohibition, and made with soft winter wheat. Well, a minimum of 51% winter wheat (but also with corn and malted barley).

Bernheim Distillery in Louisville was acquired by Heaven Hill in 1999. It was started in the 19th Century by brothers Isaac Wolfe and Bernard Bernheim, who (like many early bourbon and rye distillers) were German immigrants.

In 2005, Heaven Hill Master Distillers Parker and Craig Beam (father and son) developed the formula and started producing this, the only straight wheat whiskey on the US market. It has finally come to the LCBO.

In the glass, we have runny legs and a coppery colour with golden highlights. On the nose, toffee with white pepper, like a very light Jack Daniels. Vanilla, spearmint, cinnamon, and cloves. Water brings out some Christmas cake notes, adding some raisins and dates. Fantastic nose, not unlike a rye or a bourbon but you know that it is really neither.

Spicy palate, but also sweet with caramel, honey, vanilla and candy floss. Definitely hotter in the mouth than on the nose, with cayenne, cumin and pepper. New oak. A little oily in the mouth. Water makes it softer and creamier, but tames the spice.

The finish is warm and prickly. Nicely balanced, for sure. You can definitely taste the wheat in this - there are notes all around that reminisce of buttered toast. While there is still a prickly spice around, it is smoother and softer than a bourbon or rye. I really like this! I bought it with the idea of saving it for July 4 but I couldn't wait to try it. Now...do I finally go to bed, or have another glass? Hmmmmm......

Thank you for the historic lesson. For me, it makes sens that the Beam family developped this product because I find the same nutty signature that I find in all bourbons developped by their family. Is it possible, that they used the same yeast that Jim Beam are using for their products?

It's possible and I would think, very likely, but I don't know for sure.

@HP12

A noble addition to the cabinet due to the enjoyment factor and educational value in the whisk(e)y journey. "Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey" provides additional diversity to my whiskey choices. It's unique as it's made from a soft winter wheat mash, making it different from bourbon which is made from a mash made from a majority of corn.

Although there is no age statement on the distinctive bottle, I've read where Bernheim is aged for about 5 years and stored in traditional rick warehouses.

Tasting notes reviewed while sipping from a 12 oz. snifter, neat, slightly hand warmed.

Nose: A sweet, crisp aroma of warm oaky graham crackers, some underlying citrus notes.

Palate: Very smooth on the tongue with a light prickliness of mild baking spices, new oak, more citrus but rind like.

Finish: Oak and citrus combine in a dry fade dotted with hints of pepper at the end of a medium length conclusion.

Balance: Seemingly a slightly different personality in each phase of the ritual but each offering a nice set-up for the next with sweet smells giving way to smooth spice and ending with a tasty, toasty like finish.

As the weather turns warmer and spring time brings more time outdoors, I can envision Bernheim being a go to dram to reach for when the desire is for something refreshingly light that carries a satisfying crisp flavor.

@WTC

This is in our grains tasting. Wheat whiskey is made in the same way as bourbon, but the wheat content must account for at least 51% of the grist. Wheat is not a particularly common ingredient in bourbon, but it was what Bill Samuels Sr. used to give Maker's Mark its softer personality. Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey (to give it its full name) was first made in 2005 and is actually the only commercially available wheat whiskey.

The style of this whiskey is softer and sweeter than bourbon. This whiskey is produced at the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky in small batches.This whisky retails for around £50.

Dominic says "This is almost the flip side of bourbon, the standard order of flavours reversed so that the toasty, bready qualities of wheat replace the more aggressive vanilla, oak and spice intensity. The result is a gentle flavoursome and soft peach and apricot tinged whiskey with some liquorice and citrus notes."

Combined notes: Nose: Liquorice, anise, hickory, tropical fruit, toasted cinnamon. Taste: Incredibly smooth then lightly spiced and peppery. Finish: The sweetness is held in check by the wood but never overpowering

@WhiskyNotes

Nose: butter croissant and other types of sweet pastry. Brown sugar. It shows more fruit than other Americans (apple, banana). Some spices. Light leather. Vanilla cake. Hints of mint. Very smooth and appealing.

Mouth: starts very gentle, with the same buttered bread, caramel and menthol flavours. After that, the oak becomes more prominent with slightly bitter notes. Overall not as sweet as you would expect from the nose.

Finish: rather short but still very smooth.

This Bernheim Original does not show a lot of complexity but it’s dangerously smooth and drinkable. Only the slight bitterness in the end was a bit of an off-note for me.

@markjedi1

I purchased this bottle for two reasons: the great looks and the name (as I live in Bernheim Avenue, altough the Bernheim of my street has nothing to do with Bernard Bernheim of the distillery, but it's a nice thought). I have tried several bourbons and wheat & rye whiskies before, but this is my first straight wheat whiskey.

That shouldn't come as a surprise, for Bernheim Original is the ONLY straight wheat whiskey on the market. It was introduced in 2005 and - as far as I was able to ascertain - quite a following. It's full name is Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey.

Bernard Bernheim was a German immigrant who - together with his brother - founded the Bernheim Distillery in the 19th Century. This straight wheat whiskey is produced at the well-respected Heaven Hill Distillery in honour of Bernard Bernheim.

Bernheim Original exudes quality when looking at it. On the nose it's butter initially, then gently turning to toast and some spiciness. Makes you feel like standing in the bakery on a Sunday morning, ready to take home some croissants. Appetising!

On the palate, it's softer and less syrupy than one would expect. You immediately taste oak and buttered corn with a hint of toffee. But no bite at all, despite the spices obvious in the nose. This is a very soft whiskey.

The finish is very clean, but unfortunately very short as well.

This is a very sweet and mild whiskey with no bite at all. I like it a lot!

Ah, sorry Wills. Just using the standard USPS abbreviations for the states. Still, it is neat to learn something, whether about whisky or about where the whisky is available and for how much money. I keep telling my 7th and 8th grade students that the day I stop learning (about anything) is the day you can bury me, because I'll be quite dead. Kinda reminds them we never stop learning, which is an important life lesson. BTW, apparently the Bernheim wheat whisky is available in MD in the Montgomery County ABC stores. Know it's not available in Annapolis,MD, where my friends live. Don't know if it's available in your area. Hope you find some, at $25 or less the bottle.

I agree. It's a marvelous sippin' whisky. Introduced it to my brother in NH and a friend in MD. They had not tasted it, and it's not available in NH or MD. Didn't find it in DE, where I was recently. It's now available in VA ABC stores for $23 a bottle, including tax, through Aug 31. Normally sells for $24.95 plus tax here. And it is extremely easy to drink, even in the hottest weather. I prefer it with just a drop or two of water.

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