Bernheim Wheat Whiskey, 45% abv (90 Proof), $30/bottle
It is quite rare that you will find a Wheat Whiskey. In order to be classified as such, 51% or more of the grain makeup of the mash bill (grain recipe) must be wheat. In this case, Bernheim’s wheat content sits right at 51%, with the remaining 49% coming from corn (predominantly) and barley. Wheat is a fragile, soft grain for a whiskey, so it’s more commonly used as a component in Bourbon (which is at least 51% corn and most of the time sits at 70+% corn), adding a soft, round quality. The folks at Bernheim are doing something totally unique using wheat as the majority grain.
Color: Deep Bronze
Nose: Crisp and light with graham cracker, lemon pie, all spice, and toasted oak. There is a dry whole grain quality to this nose.
Palate: Beautifully balanced, but the flavors are well defined with lemon candy, vanilla, and light honey sweetness that isn’t sticky in the least. The sweetness is far from cloying. Cherries really shine through (kirsch??) also followed by heavily toasted bread and dry oak. Sweet spices (clove, all spice) emerge from mid palate through to the finish.
Finish: For such a light, airy whiskey this finish is really pretty long. Again the cherry fruit shines through in a more cherry candy or maraschino flavor, then toasted oak and sweet spice really takes over.
Overall: Bourbon lovers expecting to drink a rich, sweet, intense whiskey need to pause for a moment. This certainly has some bourbon-like qualities, as it should with a significant portion of corn in the grain recipe. However this is much more elegant, refined, and subtle. The flavors are light and fruity, and the sweetness is present without overdoing it. For Scotch Lovers that feel bourbon is “too sweet” or for those Bourbon Lovers looking for a nice, easy sipping change up – this is a great one. There is something for everyone here – it’s inviting, well made, and I look forward to another glass.
Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 8.7 (Very Good/Excellent)