Bernheim Wheat Whiskey – Review
One thing is for certain, wheat whiskey is an oddity, particularly since Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey holds the distinguished title of being the only one currently available.
In fact, Bernheim’s offering may just be the only whiskey that uses wheat (winter wheat, mind you) as the main grain since before Prohibition. Instead of the more common corn, rye, or barley, Bernheim’s is successfully spinning heritage into innovation by living up to the 1700s colonial tradition of distilling wheat.
Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey is it’s full name, and it hasn’t been around long — only since 2005. But, in that time, this distinct small-batch whiskey has amassed a following that is every bit as fervent and loyal as contemporaries that cost over twice as much per bottle. (As the picture attests, I am quite the fan myself!)
Named after Bernard Bernheim, one of two German immigrants who founded the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, KY in the 19th century, Bernheim Wheat Whiskey is distilled and produced by the esteemed Heaven Hill Distilleries company.
Bernheim is bottled at 90 proof in a sophisticated, yet unassuming bottle, similar in shape to Woodford Reserve, sealed by a wax-covered cork, and packaged in a slim and attractive reusable box that will fit easily into your cabinet.
Instead of the richer, bolder blush of whiskeys distilled from well, anything else, Bernheim’s exudes a light and airy honey color that is non-threatening, even inviting. To the eye, it is more similar to many Scotch or Irish whiskeys than what you may be accustomed to seeing in its American brethren.
It has a warm, yet sweet aroma that is delicate without coming off as too wispy. One almost has to wonder at first glance if it will taste syrupy, as its texture seems to threaten, but will likely be pleased to find that it has a fruity, nutty flavor that seems to miss the tongue and leave the drinker wanting another taste right away.
While sipping it neat is quite good, I find that adding a splash of filtered water will refine its textures and bring out a crisper experience.
Bernheim’s finishes extremely clean with a noticeable lack of any overzealous bite.
The downright uncluttered taste of Bernheim Wheat Whiskey is sure to please drinkers ordinarily turned away by the complexities and general heaviness of other whiskeys and provides a new experience for old-hands as well.
While Bernheim’s is not a mass-market product, it is in wide distribution in small quantities. It should be available to buy in many fine liquor stores, and if not, just ask. Average price is around $40 a bottle.
Have you tried Bernheim’s? If so, we would love to hear your thoughts. Just leave a comment below.