Tag Archives: wheated

Redemption Wheated Bourbon Review

Redemption Wheated Bourbon – Producer: Redemption. Distiller: MGP. ABV: 48%. Age: 4 years. Mashbill; 51% corn, 45% winter wheat, 4% malted barley. Price: $46.

I’ve been thinking lately of some of the more surprising whiskies I’ve had in 2017. To be sure, I didn’t expect to fall head over heels in love with the Glengoyne 12, and my rekindled adoration of Glenmorangie came as a bit of a surprise.

But in terms of American whiskies, I think the most pleasant surprise of the year so far has been the Redemption Wheated Bourbon. This 4-year-old gem has a mashbill of 51% corn, 45% winter wheat, and 4% malted barley. It’s the unusually high percentage of wheat that makes this one so interesting.

The Redemption Wheated Bourbon is contract-distilled by MGP to Redemption‘s specifications, as are their other offerings. I’m a fan of their flagship rye, though their recent barrel-strength releases have been iffier.

This limited edition release had me from the beginning. The nose is a bit like Thanksgiving to me. Wisps of sage remind me of the stuffing I usually make. The vanilla layer brings to mind certain pies that I’m supposed to wait to eat (ahem). And the cereal grain reminds me of the handfuls of bread products I shove in my mouth to stave off starvation while my turkey slowly roasts.

Do you get the sense I’m anticipating this holiday a bit?

There’s a soft, creamy vanilla at the forefront of the palate. It melds beautifully with the more substantial nutty flavor further on. There’s dark coffee bean, hazelnut, and a touch of brisket as well. The finish has bits of sage, along with orange zest. It lingers just long enough for me to miss it when it’s gone.

I really enjoyed this one. Here’s to pleasant surprises yet to come. Cheers, friends! – TM

A company representative graciously provided a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.

Low Gap 2-Year-Old Wheat Whiskey Review

Distiller: Craft Distillers/Germain-Robin. ABV: 43.1%. Mashbill: 100% Malted Bavarian Hard Wheat. Price: $65-75.

Crispin Cain of the American Craft Whiskey Distillery has been distilling for 20 years, and producing a variety of Low Gap whiskeys for about the past five. The distillery itself is one of the oldest microdistillers in America, dating back to 1982.

My favorite Low Gap so far has been single barrel No. 1 of the Two-Year-Old Bavarian Hard Wheat–winner of 2012 Artisan Whiskey of the Year by Whiskey Advocate. It’s distilled on Germain-Robin’s renowned copper cognac still from a mashbill of 100% malted Bavarian wheat, and aged in a new oak barrel.

The nose is heavily spiced, but the taste is surprisingly smooth, with floral notes dancing above the expected wheat profile–a balance of honey and light tropical fruits. There is a silky, medium-long finish.

I’m looking forward to tasting the non-single barrel version of the four-year-old Bavarian Wheat for comparison–along with the other good things Crispin Cain keeps cooking up.

Cheers! – JTR

Old Weller Antique 107 Review

Distiller: Buffalo Trace. ABV: 53.5%. No age statement. Mashbill: undisclosed (wheated). Price: $25 (in theory).

Old Weller Antique is part of Buffalo Trace’s knockout line of (formerly) affordable wheated bourbons, which also includes the Weller Special Reserve and the Weller 12. All three use wheat as the flavoring grain rather than rye, and all three used to be accessible at very fair prices. As recently as Spring 2015, you could find the top-of-the-line Weller 12 on shelves in CA for under $30, and the other two were $5-10 cheaper.

Alas, some weisenheimer at GQ or Maxim or some equally august publication had to go and deem the Weller 12 “the next best thing to Pappy van Winkle,” based on the fact that the Weller line shares a distillery, mashbill, and warehouse with the infamous “best bourbon in the world.”

In weeks, anything with the name “Weller” on the bottle vanished from shelves everywhere. When the Wellers showed up again, they were marked up by 25-50%. Then more. I nearly hit the floor when I saw a bottle of Weller 12 at a store in Glendale, CA, for $149.99. I asked the seller if anyone bought it at that price. “They do,” he said. “Matter of fact, I just sold a case.”

So let’s get to the juice.

The nose on the Old Weller Antique is big and bold sweetness with lots of fruit, caramel and vanilla. On the palate, it has a chewy texture of sweet caramel apples drizzled with fresh honey.  Then comes a spicy punch of cinnamon–a fist wrapped in a lace glove of floral notes. Cinnamon and heat linger on the medium finish.

It’s got a bite the Weller 12 doesn’t–no surprise since it’s 107 proof, versus the Weller 12’s 90, plus it’s about five years younger. Don’t pay through the nose for it, and if you find it, keep it classy and don’t buy more than two bottles–nobody likes a hoarder.

But at a fair price, this remains one of the beat deals around. Cheers, friends! – JTR & BO

Jim Beam Signature Craft Red Wheat Bourbon Review

Distiller: Jim Beam. ABV: 45%. Age: 11 years. Mashbill: 76% corn, 13% red winter wheat, 10% malted barley. Price: $45-50 (375ml).

I’ve always been curious about the small 375ml bottles from the Jim Beam Signature Craft Harvest Bourbon Collection that I’ve seen in stores, but have passed due to their $50ish price tag. The series mixes up Beam’s usual mash bill by adding or substituting unusual grains to the old corn-rye-malted barley standby–think brown rice, rolled oats, or triticale.

However, I couldn’t resist when I recently found a bottle of the 11-year-old Soft Red Wheat for $20. As the name implies, it swaps in 13% red winter wheat as the flavoring grain in place of rye. So how is it?

On the nose and palate are notes of sweet fruit, deep oak and slight vanilla. Although light in texture and not overly complex, there’s also subtle spearmint mixed with caramel on the back end, followed with more heavy oak on the finish.

I’m glad I tried this, but I’d have to sample the other bottles in the collection prior to putting down the $50 for a go.

Do you have a favorite of the Harvest Bourbon Collection? Let us know! -JTR

Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon Review

Distiller: Wyoming Whiskey. 44% ABV. Age: 5+ years. Mashbill: at least 51% corn, undisclosed proportions of wheat and malted barley. Price: $47.

Wow. There’s nothing like trying a bottle from a microdistiller that’s all but unknown outside its home state, and being not just pleasantly surprised, but truly impressed. Wyoming Whiskey trumpets a 95 rating from WhiskyCasts’s Mark Gillespie — and I can see what he liked.

Wyoming Whisky It’s not a Kentucky bourbon profile, nor should it be. It’s a purely local product: all Wyoming grain and Wyoming water. The company signaled its seriousness early on by hiring as its master distiller Steve Nally, who spent 33 years with Maker’s Mark. (Read the Q&A with him in Imbibe.) They released their first product — their wheated small batch bourbon — in December 2012.

Nose: a touch hot at first, but no white dog bite, no small-barrel blues. Strong green apple. Calvados. Potpourri. With time, toasted baguette with butter.

Palate: black tea with honey. Sandalwood. Sauteed mushrooms? And an empty Chardonnay cask sort of funk that’s hard to place, but I love it. The nose is enjoyable, but it’s the palate that really sets this bourbon apart. You won’t mistake it for anything else on your shelf. Complex, lingering finish.

It’s a distinct enough product that it won’t suit every bourbon drinker. But for my money, that’s exactly what real microdistillers should be doing: producing stuff that expresses a local character, that shows a variety and uniqueness that the big boys don’t.

As with any small distiller, there may be a question of batch-to-batch consistency…I haven’t heard the same wildly split opinions batch to batch as I have with Stranahan’s, but that may also be because Wyoming Whiskey is still little-known. (For reference, I’ve got Batch 28.)

In any event, if you run across it, don’t pass up the chance to try it. And definitely let us know what you think. As of August 2015, it’s sold in 12 states, and the company tells me it’ll soon be sold in 25. It should be sold in all 50.

Hats off, Wyoming Whiskey! – BO

The distiller graciously provided a bottle for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.

Buy Wyoming Whiskey online at Mash + Grape

Bernheim Wheat Whiskey Review

2015 Axis of WhiskyFest Tasting no. 2. Distiller: Heaven Hill. 45% ABV. 7 years old. Price: $30.

Brought to the Fest by the great-grandson of Isaac Bernheim himself. (See the excellent Atlantic article “The Jewish Origins of Kentucky Whiskey” for an eye-opening look at the little-known history.)

One of the few wheat whiskies on the market, with a mashbill consisting of at least 51% soft winter wheat. It has a rich, toasty, Maker’s-like palate. The body’s on the lighter side, but with great balance and mouthfeel. Honey. Light molasses. Begging for some BBQ.

Mild and maybe a touch underpowered compared to its corn-based cousins, Bernheim is still worth appreciating on its own terms. A modest but worthy tribute to the long-neglected legacy of old Isaac. – BO