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Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey - Review

Drink Your Wheaties

by Nancy Huang

Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey was the first wheat whiskey ever released on the U.S. market

Since its launch in September 2005, Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey has quickly gained attention as the first wheat whiskey ever released on the U.S. market. Distilled by Heaven Hill, the makers of the Evan Williams and Elijah Craig brands, this small-batch liquor comes from a mash containing 51 percent winter wheat, making it different from its bourbon cousins, which contain at least 51 percent corn. Corn and malted barley make up the other 49 percent of Bernheim Original’s mash, which was distilled in January 2000 and aged for five years.

Heaven Hill befriends a new class of whiskey drinkers with this release, which has a noticeable absence of rye in its mash. The resulting whiskey is clean, with a lot less of the bite and bitter aroma that turns some people off from rye whiskeys. Sweet on the nose but less on the palate, this spirit has subtle aromas of oak, honey and wheat, which come out more if the whisky is cut rather than neat. On the palate, its flavors are refined but not as complex as some well-aged bourbons. The finish is warm.

Although it is not fully released in all U.S. markets yet, expect to see Bernheim pop up soon in the local liquor store. It’s a simple spirit with a simple flavor and is sure to please a lot of whiskey lovers.

Price: $40 for a 750 ml bottle
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(Published: 12/12/05)

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