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Bernheim Original

Gentle Wheater

0 584

@whiskyjourneyReview by @whiskyjourney

3rd May 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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


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.

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Rigmorole commented

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.

10 years ago 0

whiskyjourney commented

@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.

10 years ago 0

Victor commented

Straw Dogs!@rigmorole...I know where you are coming from, but you are just setting a moderate ABV wheat whiskey or wheated bourbon up for failure if you taste it after Booker's.

I never drink something like Bernheim's or any of the Van Winkles except on a very clean palate. I know very well that I won't be able to taste what they have to offer if I have just consumed something like Booker's...

10 years ago 0

whiskyjourney commented

@Victor Great point! It is like enjoying a nice peaty whisky before a gentle one...the palate can only handle so much.

10 years ago 0

Victor commented

@whiskyjourney, yes, I do not schedule tasting of Glengoyne 10 after I have just had a glass of Ardbeg Corryvreckan!

10 years ago 0

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