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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.
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.