An interesting and slightly quirky whiskey. Well worth a try.
Notes: This is a new whiskey for Heaven Hill but actually quite and 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 afterwards. 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 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 have at least a toehold in the market. Heaven Hill came out with a Bernheim Wheat at least 2 years old version of this whiskey a few years ago and have now released this, their seven year old version. Aged seven years in a new, charred oak barrel, distilled at less than 160 proof, and contains no coloring, flavoring or blending agents.
Made from soft winter wheat with a mash bill of at least 51% wheat ( the balance being mostly corn with some barley to aid in fermentation and to add taste). Less than 150 barrels of this was made and they made 2 small batches of 75 barrels each for the production run ( Finally someone specifying what they considered a small batch !)
Heaven Hill also produces a large portfolio of other whiskies,many of which we have reviewed in the past including; Elijah Craig 21 Year Old Bourbon , Rittenhouse Very Rare 25 Year Old Rye , Larceny Bourbon, Parkers Heritage Collection 7th Release Promise of Hope, along with the Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage releases such as the Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 2000 , Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 2003 and the Elijah Craig 12 Year Old and Elijah Craig 18 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbons and the New Make or Trybox series the New Make Rye and Bourbon along with many others that we have not had a chance to review yet.
Appearance: Clear gold bronze color like hard red winter wheat, it is a brighter gold in a glass . On swirling it leaves a light oily coat on the glass with a tear line forming then developing long legs.
First Impression: Nice vanilla oak notes, barrel char, citrus, dark fruits, with a Sichuan pepper note that provides a slightly spicy kick.
Taste: Slightly sweet entry, with jammy or marmalade notes, slightly sweet entry, soft pepper and rye notes, give it a nicely sweet and sour kick to capture your attention. a pleasant drying finish
Drinks: works well in all the standard whiskey drinks, manhattans, old-fashioned’s, whiskey sours, etc., and even a few Scotch drinks such as a Rob Roy and blood and sand , is the relative dryness of the wheat whiskey in some ways mirrors a Scotch whiskey in some respects.
Bottle: clear glass flask shaped bottle, shows the whiskey off quite nicely. Simple graphics with an artwork of a head of wheat, with a small paper label at the bottom that states “7 years aged” and small batch. Paper label on one side gives the story of the whiskey, and the usual required government warnings, other side as Bernheim original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey silkscreened on it. Back is completely clear ( a both striking and lovely look) that agains shows off the whiskey nicely. Very well done package overall.
Other: As stated earlier, this is one of the original forms of whiskey in the United States.
Cigars: A relatively light cigar, A Connecticut shade wrapper preferably a Rocky Patel or an Ashton cigarillo or half corona size.
Final Thoughts: While a bit on the light or simple side for a whiskey it is a charming whiskey altogether and we applaud Heaven Hill for going forward with it. The Bernheim original wheat whiskey also is a good starter whiskey for people are looking to go onto brown spirits yet do not want to be overwhelmed with something overly flavorful at first. A very pleasant quality whiskey and well worth including your whiskey collection.
A nicely done and informative website about this particle whiskey with background,flavor charts and recipes. One of their better webpages actually.