Proof: 82 (41% ABV)
Michigan State Minimum: $30
Appearance: Light copper.
Nose: Alcohol, cayenne pepper, leather.
Palate: Sweet and mild. Brach’s caramels, chocolate covered toffee, a little bit of alcohol bite.
Finish: Sweet but a little spicy. Caramel, cocoa, alcohol.
Mixed: Excellent in all cockltails- Manhattan, Perfect Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Boulevardier. OK on the rocks and with soda.
Parting words: I.W. Harper was reintroduced to the U.S. this year after being gone for a couple decades. I.W. Harper begin life as the flagship bourbon of Isaac Wolfe Bernheim’s (d. 1945) distillery. After prohibition, the distillery and brand were sold to Schenley. Through a series of mergers I.W. Harper came to be owned by Diageo, even though the Bernheim distilley was sold to Heaven Hill in 1997. Heaven Hill’s Bernheim Wheat Whiskey is a tribute to I.W. Berneim and his brother Bernard.
One of the first ever “dusties” I found was a bottle of I.W. Harper. It was also the first dusty I was ever disappointed with. It was bland and watery. The 15 y/o (a part of the Bourbon Heritage Collection) was bland and watery but with a little oak thrown in. This is a big improvement on those two. It’s not extremely complex, but it’s got a great mouthfeel and enough spice to keep things interesting. It also plays very well with mixers. There are better choices at $30, but I.W. Harper isn’t a bad one.
I.W. Harper is recommended.