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Berheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey Barrel Proof Batch A224 125.2 Proof

  • Rating: 7
  • Value: 8
Type:
Classification: ,
Ingredients: , ,
Distillery:
Importer:
Proof: 125.2 (62.6%)
Age: 7-9 Year Old Blend
Price: $64.99 750 ML
Price Range:

Overall more char heavy and less smooth and/or subtle than the previous incarnation. Overall not a fan of this batch.

Notes: This is a relatively new whiskey for Heaven Hill but actually quite an old one as far as the United States is concerned. Wheat whiskey was actually the original whiskey of the United States, with hundreds of distilleries in New York state alone long before the whiskey rebellion and for a period of time afterward. The use of corn and the advent of bourbon was something that happened long after wheat, and then rye whiskey had taken root in American culture.

Unlike rye whiskey, wheat did, however, seem to entirely die out as a category of whiskey until recently. Rye limped long and seemed to be circling the drain for a number of years after prohibition (and rotgut Canadian blended rye during and after prohibition certainly continued to destroy the reputation of the category). Rye has enjoyed a significant renaissance in recent years, and wheat, while not exactly burning up the whiskey category, seems to be making a comeback and has at least a toehold in the market. Heaven Hill came out with a Bernheim Wheat at least two years old version of this whiskey a number of years ago, then released the 7-year-old version that is more or less widely available, and have now released this, their Barrel Proof Lot A224. Aged seven to nine years in a new, charred oak barrel, distilled at less than 160 proof, and contains no coloring, flavoring, or blending agents. Mashbill is as follows: 51% wheat, 37% corn, and 12% malted barley.  Non chill filtered and bottled at barrel proof. This is the second release of this barrel-proof 7-9-year-old blend. It also seems like this will be a twice-yearly release, with the next one out in the spring of 2024. We will keep you posted!

Appearance: Russet gold/dark wheat straw gold in color, clear

First Impression: Wheat grain, bread, spiciness, baked bread notes, corn, barley, light sugar/toffee notes. A bit more grain forward than the last batch, with also a bit more barrel char and burn to the finish. Overall pleasant, but more assertive than the last go-round.

Taste: Pleasant warming entry, slightly viscous mouthfeel, grain, butter, spices, harsh char and heat at full strength, even for a barrel-proof whiskey. Smooths out nicely with the addition of some water, with apple baking spices warming up nicely. IMHO, though, it should be smoother as is.

Drinks: Think more of Irish whiskey-type drinks, more delicate than rye and not as sweet as bourbon.

Bottle: Cannot comment as we did not receive a production bottle to comment on.

Other: Barrel-proof version of Bernheim Wheat Whiskey

Final Thoughts: Simple and uncomplicated, but I think they need to dial back the char level in the barrels and use a different wheat variety ( such as a soft white winter wheat). I suspect they are using standard hard wheat – probably a red- which leads to a harsher, not to say industrial taste in wheat spirits.

Website: www.hevenhill.com/bernheim-barrel-proof.php

Somewhat minimal website, but worth a look.

 

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