Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey
Keeping the American theme going with a few more drops from whiskEy country up my labcoat sleeve. Sorry if it takes me weeks to pull 'em out.
Typical of American whiskey, the Bernheim story is shrouded in mystery, some confusion, and even a little intentional deceit. The Bernheim website reads, "Brothers Isaac Wolfe and Bernard Bernheim, pioneering German immigrants with little money and big dreams, established a distillery in Louisville, Kentucky in the 19th century. Since that time, the Bernheim distillery has consistently produced whiskeys lauded for their superior taste and quality." The Heaven Hill website reads, "Heaven Hill produces its whiskies at the historic Bernheim Distillery."
Historic? consistently making spirit? The old Bernheim distillery was demolished and the new one was built in 1992. The whisky is distilled at (the new) Bernheim distillery and is matured at Heaven Hill's facilities in Bardstown, Kentucky. The amazing Sku, who helped me clarify some details about this whiskey (and many others over the years), also points out that this is straight wheat whiskey (>51% wheat), not to "be confused with what in Bourbon lingo is referred to as a "wheater." A wheater is a Bourbon in which the remaining grains, beyond the required corn, contain wheat instead of rye. In a wheater, corn is still the base grain. In wheat whiskey, which is not Bourbon, wheat is the base grain.
Thank you, my west coast malt loving brother!
Tasted with an east coast malt loving brother, David Stewart (no, not that one. Or that one).
Perfumy, aromatic, like hot tea. Vanilla, chamomile, and fresh mint. Simple and clean with a gentle spice beneath the sweet surface.
Very soft in the mouth, verging on bland. Not much of note happening here. Hmm... Late notes of bread, baguette and then... fin
In tasting this with DS, we were both speechless for no other reason than there was next to nothing to say about the flavours in this drop. Light? Clean? Yes, but also boring and inconsequential. Although unique in the world of American whiskey, I think Greenore provides a parallel but this drop doesn't come close to the complexities of oak influence in texture and flavour found in its Irish comparison.
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