Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Bernheim Original Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey - Batch A223

- $70
- 118.8 Proof
- 7-9 Years
- Batch A223
- Kentucky

I supposed it was only a matter of time until this became a think. After all, Heaven Hill started releasing Elijah Craig Barrel Proof tri-annually.  It then started releasing Larceny Barrel Proof, which has seen its own share of success. So it only makes sense that they'd release Bernheim Original, one the few and certainly the most popular wheat whiskey out there.

Here, though, I don't know that people were beating their drums demanding a barrel proof version of Bernheim Wheat Whiskey. I just don't believe it's that popular of a product or has that much of a following. That said, the initial feedback I was getting from others upon its release was that it was very good. So, despite not having some deep yearning for it, I decided to give this bottle a go.

On the nose, right away I found it to be very cinnamon forward, which I wasn't necessarily expecting. There was also a distinct pastry note to it, kind of like a cinnamon roll, but not nearly as sweet.  There was a slight spiciness to it, perhaps a black pepper spice. Later on I noticed a vanilla bean note that I really enjoyed.

The flavor wasn't quite in line with the aroma. Right up front I got a distinct bread note, like a sweet wheat bread. More than that, it reminded me of toast. It had that toasted bread flavor, which made the immediately following cinnamon and brown sugar notes all that more welcome. It was like a breakfast snack.

Admittedly, at first I wasn't a huge fan of this. I didn't want to drink bread, even if it did remind me a bit of cinnamon toast.  But, this bottle really grew on me. I think one reason that it is is that it developed a spiciness that I really loved. It was a mix of sweet and hot cinnamon, black pepper and even a bit of that sharp cayenne spice. It added a level that seemed to make this whiskey so much more interesting.

That spice and the sweetness both lingered for quite a while on the finish as well, providing that nice counterbalance. A bit of the brown sugar note stuck around as well, while the grainy bread note seemed to fade away, which was alright with me.

Like I said, at first I was unimpressed, but by about half-way through the bottle I found myself actively wanting a pour whenever I'd go to make my choice of drink for the evening. Whether or not I buy future batches remains to be seen, but I'll certainly give it a thought.

Grade: B

Friday, September 15, 2023

Coppercraft Distillery Single Barrel Straight Bourbon Whiskey

- $70
- 113.58 Proof
- Indiana

I've said it before, repeatedly. But, it's worth saying yet again.  I love free whiskey!!  This bottle was a gift from a very good friend of mine who traveled to my place from California via Michigan for the 4th of July. On his way through that mitten-shaped state, he stopped by Coppercraft distillery and picked this bottle up for me, one I had never had before. 

In fact, I don't know that I have had anything from Coppercraft prior to this bottle. But, it's cask strength MGP bourbon, and I was told it was 6 years old (though that remains unverified). In any event, I figured it had to, at the very least, be decent whiskey, and was in all likelihood very good.

On the nose I got a lot of those characteristics I've come to expect from MGP. It had a more spice-forward profile, rather than being sweet.  I got cinnamon and toffee, as well as a bit of vanilla undertone. Despite its youth, I also got a bit of oak, but no bitterness to accompany it. Rather, just a bit of an earthy, woody aroma. It also had a bit of an orange peel note to it, adding just a slight twist to things.

The flavor was pretty on point with the nose. The toffee note seemed to be more up front, however. I expected the cinnamon note to carry the day, but it leaned toward the sweeter end of the spectrum right up front. The vanilla seemed to come forward more than on the nose as well.

However, it didn't take long for that cinnamon spice to come through. As those sweet caramel and vanilla notes subsided, the spicy cinnamon shone through. There was also a rich, dark fruit note, kind of like a mix between cherry and blackberry. But it didn't have any sort of jammy fruit notes to it. Rather, it was just the richness and flavor of the hybrid berry that I was getting.

On the finish the toffee and cinnamon prevailed. None of those rich fruit notes really seemed to linger. Quite frankly, the sweet and spicy notes didn't linger as long as I'd have liked either, as it was a relatively short-lived finish, despite the higher proof.

I think I need to give more Coppercraft products a try. I realize this is sourced, but there's something to be said about a good, sourced whiskey, and this fits the bill.  

Grade: B+