Style: Straight Wheat Whiskey (made with at least 51% wheat)
Proof: 90 (45% ABV)
Michigan state minimum: $30
Appearance: Caramel with necklacing and thin legs.
Nose: Alcohol, walnut, whole wheat biscuits.
Palate: Surprisingly hot. Cinnamon, crackers, caramel, pinch of tarragon.
Finish: Butterscotch, amaretto, alcohol, oak.
Mixed: Very good in a Manhattan and an old fashioned. Didn’t try it in anything else.
Parting words: Bernheim Original is a rare thing in two ways. First, it’s the only straight wheat whiskey on store shelves made by a major American whiskey distiller. Second, after years of being NAS, it was reintroduced with an age statement this year! This is unheard of these days when tightening supplies are causing age statements to drop like passes in the hands of rookie wide receivers.
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.