Bernheim Original Straight Wheat Whiskey

Maker: Heaven Hill, Louisville/Bardstown, Kentucky, USA

Age: NAS

Proof: 90 (45% ABV)

Appearance: Copper with thick clingy legs.

Nose: Alcohol, whole wheat bread, raisins.

On the palate: Medium-bodied, dry and subtle. Raisin toast, buttermilk biscuits, shortcake.

Finish: Slightly fruity, a little cinnamon, then fades softly.

Parting words: Bernheim Original came into being when Heaven Hill took over the Old Fitzgerald brand of wheated bourbons. For the first time in history, Heaven Hill was working with wheat, so why not try something different? They decided to name it Bernheim to honor the founder of their new distillery (or at least its immediate predecessor) in Louisville. If you’re ever in Nelson County, Kentucky, you can see I.W. and Mrs. Bernheim’s graves in the Bernheim Forest, a beautiful arboretum on land donated by the man himself.

My tasting notes are simple tasting notes because this is a simple whiskey. This is not a bad thing, but before you drink this keep that in mind. Rye whiskey has loads of flavor and character because of all the flavor rye brings to the party. Wheat and Corn have less flavor so Corn and Wheat whiskeys have less flavor. Bernheim Original is the only straight wheat whiskey being made by a major distiller, so there’s not much to compare it to. The whiskey to compare it with, in my opinion, is one of Heaven Hill’s aged corn whiskeys like Mellow Corn or Dixie Dew, rather than a wheated bourbon. The subtle, simple flavors of an aged corn are similar to the simplicity of wheat whiskey.

Bernheim Original works in Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, but some of its more delicate flavors can get lost. It works best as a refreshing summer afternoon sipper. And it’s at a reasonable price. Bernheim Original is recommended.

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4 thoughts on “Bernheim Original Straight Wheat Whiskey

  1. I call this a “Beginner’s Whiskey.” Not a bad thing, though. It has a special place in my heart, as this was the whiskey I began with.

  2. […] I reviewed the NAS back in 2012. Judging by my old tasting notes, this age stated version is richer and beefier than the old version. It’s no longer a lightweight and has a solid caramel backbone to support the unusual baked goods and cinnamon flavors. This isn’t a novelty anymore, this is seriously good whiskey. With micro-distilled wheat whiskeys popping up all over the place, Bernheim Original has taken its rightful place as the benchmark of the category. The price hasn’t changed much, if it all, since 2012. Even more than three years ago, Bernheim Original is recommended. […]

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