Bernhiem Wheat Whiskey is a Heaven Hill product, clocking in at 90 proof, and with an age statement of 7 years. Initially released in 2005 without an age statement, with the 7 year age added in 2014. This is not a bourbon, and the mashbill is at least 51%, wheat, most likey including corn and malted barley as well. This bottle is a store pick from Smokey Hollow. I’m not sure what that is, it’s not the store I got it from, but that store sometimes buys up leftovers of other picks. It was inexpensive, around $25.
The nose on this one is cedar, mint, salted caramel, juicy fruit, and spice. The mouthfeel is nice and viscous, and coats the tongue well. The palate is pepper, sweet salty caramel, almonds, honey, cinnamon and baking spice, even a touch of berry. The finish first comes back with the cedar and wintergreen, then bit of pepper, a little burn. Its of medium-long length, and at the latter parts of it I finally get the drying oak and some vanilla. I expected less burn with a 7-year-old at this low of proof. Part of it is the pepper that enhances the heat. What baffles me is this reminds me of some ryes, which is totally wrong because it’s the opposite.
I find this whiskey to be pretty light, with not a whole lot going on. Or at least nothing hitting me over the head. That’s not to be confused with a whiskey that is balanced, where not one single taste hits you upside the head; instead it’s a slightly muddled and unremarkably too subtle. Of course, this is not meant to taste like bourbon, just like you can’t judge a corn whiskey on bourbon merits. Perhaps someone who likes a lighter touch would dig this, like fans of the easy-going Speyside scotches which are not meant to challenge the imbiber. Personally, I find it a little boring, though it is not a simple whiskey when you try hard enough to find the complexities. I can’t compare this to other wheat whiskeys because I haven’t had many, partly because their aren’t many; and putting this up to a wheater bourbon wouldn’t really be comparing apples to apples. But I doubt if I would buy another bottle. Since this was a store pick single barrel, I would be very curious to try the regular version to see if I like it better, since store picks don’t guarantee an improvement over the regular stuff. But I’m not gonna buy a bottle to do so. Overall, I’m not too impressed. But hey, it was not much more than twenty bucks. And it doesn’t suck, not at all. I’ll give it a B-.