By now I'm very familiar with the rules and regulations that govern the bourbon world (I know. It seem silly to think that a concoction that makes you WANT to break rules must actually follow rules of it's own, but that's the way it is). That being said, it still surprises me how many different variations of bourbon can be made from what is essentially a distilled and aged corn liquor. Some taste peaty and remind me of Irish Whiskey. Some are sweet and smooth. Some are smokey, tasting of the charred barrel they lived in for so long.
The other day the hubby brought home what I thought was yet another bottle of bourbon to add to our at-home-collection. Boy was I wrong. This smooth, sweet liquor was clearly different. And now I know it's because it wasn't bourbon at all. It's Kentucky Straight Whiskey made from winter wheat, and it's delicious.
The name is Bernheim. The whiskey is delicious.
The other night at dinner I asked Nick to critique it for me and he simply said, "Honestly, I can't find a damn thing wrong with it. Is that critique enough?".
The reason for it's taste is the wheat, which is also the reason why it can't be called bourbon. If it's not at least 51% corn based, it must be called something else, and Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey sounds good to me!
Now if you taste it you may find it vaguely reminiscent of the ever popular Maker's Mark. That's because Maker's Mark uses 51% corn and then instead of adding rye as so many other distillers do, they add a small amount of wheat to complete the mash. The wheat adds that sweet, smooth taste that makes Maker's Mark such an easy-to-drink, and popular bourbon.
Bernheim took this idea one step further and simply decided to use wheat as their primary grain. And as much as a bourbon lover as I am...I have to say...I absolutely love this whiskey.
Bernheim Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey