Bernheim Original Wheat Bourbon

Read More

51% winter wheat, 39% corn, 10% barley malt. 45% ABV.

It’s cold outside now in Austin and we’re back at it with the whiskey reviews. Last week, I wanted to try a new wheat bourbon. I’m only really familiar with WL Weller, a staple over at C&W, and it’s such a reliable bottle that I’ve rarely ventured out to see what else is out there. The Weller, which we’ve reviewed here a while back, features a chewy, satisfying flavor and stays away from oversweet qualities or astringency that might be endemic to a wheat whiskey. It was against the Weller standard that I rolled the dice on the Bernheim Original.

Three of us settled on the porch, each with different cigars but splitting the Bernheim, a few splashes each and neat. By itself, the Bernheim is astringent. If you’re unfamiliar with this taste, do you know how you’ve choked down Robitussin as a little kid, at the direction of a parent or a school nurse? The first part of Robitussin, out of those little plastic caps, is not that bad. It tastes a little bit rich, round, like licorice. But the end – what we call the backsip – is the rough part. It makes you pucker your lips and grimace unrecognizably. The Bernheim, without any water or ice to open itself up, has the same effect. So, because we like to enjoy ourselves and not feel like we are taking medicine, we added some water.

Room-temperature water opened up this bottle very well. The Bernheim only needed a splash, and we could taste some vanilla, cedar and of course the wheat. Grant, who had joined us on the back porch for the night, mentioned that a couple of big ice cubes were his favorite way to water down a nice whiskey. I agree with this. You may taste something different in the drink when the ice is at various melted levels; we were fresh out of cubes, so water had to do. Either way, we were drinking a wheat bourbon on the back porch – hard to complain otherwise.

Even though some water saved the night, it’s difficult to justify the Bernheim Original for the price. The 750 ml bottle ran for about $28, the same price point as WL Weller. It’s a thinner, less developed wheat bourbon, and Weller is just the superior product in this field. If you happen to need a wheat bourbon for a particular sort of cocktail, the Bernheim is excellent – a couple of days later I used it for a hot toddy kind of drink with a cider, and the sharpness complemented some of the sweetness. But if you’re hoping to sip something straight, neat or with an ice cube, spring for a different wheat bourbon. I’m continuing the hunt for something to beat WL Weller.

Willett Bourbon

Read More

WillettBourbonCW

I have been wanting to try the Willett Bourbon for years.

Since I’ve been interested in drinking fine whiskeys, Willett Bourbon has stood out with its incredibly alluring shape, deep amber color, and individually numbered packaging. It is a bottle that immediately commands attention, one that you almost hesitate to drink from given the perfect proportion of whiskey that creates the luxurious visual aesthetic. But not to worry, dear readers. Drink I did.

I poured the Willett over one large cube, then gave it a few swirls to appreciate its rich aroma. The legs clung to the side of the glass very well, dripping almost like syrup back into the glass.

The taste is, and I do not use this word lightly, exquisite. Very rich notes of pear, caramel, and just a hint of smoke paraded across my palate. The finish was creamy and delicious, with absolutely zero harshness. Just a glowing warmth akin to a heated apple cider.

If you haven’t tried the Willett Bourbon, you are absolutely missing out. It is one of those rare cases where the fanciness of packaging accurately reflects the elegance of the drink therein. Pick up a bottle and let me know what you think. As for me, I’ve found one of my new favorite bourbons.

Whiskey Wednesday: Bulleit Frontier Whiskey

Read More

bulleit

Hello Dear Readers,

I am very excited to be back with you on this whiskeyist of days, especially since today’s feature is one of my personal favorites. I first savored the red richness that is Bulleit in the backyard of a friend’s family gathering, among friendship and comrades, and those are the feelings that always spring forth with each sip.

Red is the defining feature of Bulleit. Not only does it possess the wonderful color that can only be described as a union of Bevo’s burnt orange and the crimson of the Emperor’s Royal Guards, but it just tastes red. It is difficult to describe, much as blue Gatorade somehow simply tastes blue.

The 90 proof hits you immediately, and I am always shocked that more bros and woo-girls do not order more Bulleit, instead opting for the ubiquitous Canadian concoction that is Fireball. Bulleit has all the initial blast of a bar shot (I believe due to the relatively high rye content), but with so much finer a finish. Do not get me wrong, I would not describe Bulleit as smooth by any stretch of the imagination, but as it slides down your throat, a pleasant mellowing does occur such as mesquite burns into charcoal.

Bulleit might not be the best option for a bachelor party or Washington soiree, but its richness of flavor and $25 price tag makes it a versatile option. While Corona might want you to find your beach, after drinking Bulleit, I encourage you to go discover your frontier.

A Few Notes From Stephen: I wanted to chime in on Dylan’s thoughts because Bulleit is one of my favorite drinkin’ whiskeys as well. For its ease of drinking Bulleit somehow always keeps my interest every time I pick it up. Like Dylan, I appreciate the richness of the whiskey, as well as the impact of it’s flavor. I always get a touch of woodsmoke, some caramel, and a touch of red apple. It is always a welcome treat, and one which I second Dylan in recommending!

 

Whiskey Wednesday: Bird Dog

Read More

bird-dog-kentucky-bourbon-whiskey

Happy Whiskey Day dear readers!

As befitting the recent valiant performance of Team USA, today’s selection returns us back to the Red, White, and Blue in the form of Bird Dog Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.

Bird Dog is an intriguing drink. Its mystery starts from its very label, in the sense that for all the information available on the bottle, you might get the impression it was a product brewed in the liquor store’s pantry: no distillery history, no description of blending techniques, and no back story for the title.

True, this cloudy whiskey, with a late wave of peat and a sweet smell of cinnamon mixed with the slightest touch of ginger, is simple, but it is also a reminder that good things do not necessarily need complexion.

This is a whiskey you drink whilst gazing at a Southern sunset with good friends; the once in July opportunities that come once in a bottle. You would not buy Bird Dog to impress someone, just as the person counting stars cares little about the final tally.

This dog bites better at room temperature than on ice, as it keeps the flavor throughout the entire sip, but otherwise an enjoyable, if thoroughly par product for your consideration.

As always, further research is needed…