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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......