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

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