Bernheim Original: Revisited

I’d like to thank Heaven Hill for providing this review sample to me with no strings attached.

IMAGE: the front label of a bottle of Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey

It has been one thousand, seven hundred and fifteen days since I last did a tasting of Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey. It was purchased right after they added the seven year age statement to the bottle. That age statement addition was the reason that I purchased my first bottle of Bernheim, but sadly that was also the last bottle I purchased of Heaven Hill’s Wheat Whiskey. Not because I had some strong feeling toward it. But precisely because I turned out that I didn’t have a strong feeling toward it. I just sort of forgot it existed.

Now, I can be excused for that, at least a little bit. I do tend to reserve a majority of my whiskey budget for the site and it can be hard to remember to go back to something once I’ve written about it. In this case though, it just didn’t make that strong of an impression on me to warrant a second look.

And so it stood for almost five years. Until one day a couple weeks ago, a package came from Heaven Hill. They tend to send things unannounced so I was interested what new thing it would be this time. Imagine my surprise when I opened the box and found this bottle of Bernheim. At first I thought, “well…cool!” and was happy. Then I thought, “oh, I’ve reviewed that” and I had a bit of a sad. Not because I had free whiskey, mind you, just that I wouldn’t be getting content out of it. Of course, once I looked up how long ago I’d reviewed it, I got happy again because it was a prime candidate for revisiting. Especially once I remembered that I hadn’t even had a sip of Bernheim since that bottle five years ago.

At the time, I’d summed up my feelings like this:

This is pleasant though uninteresting. It can take a little water, but not much. I like it but wouldn’t want it for every pour. I’d love to see that age statement creep up even further.

I said that last bit partly as a bridge to the whiskey I was comparing it with that night. See, I’d decided to pair the Bernheim review with the Parker’s Heritage Wheat Whiskey that had also been released right about that time. And honestly, I think the presence of the same juice, but at an older age and higher proof sort of set Bernheim up for failure. Parker’s Heritage cast a long shadow. So now many years removed from its limited edition brother, I think I am prepared to take another look at it and judge it on its own merits.

Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey

Purchase Info: This review sample was graciously provided to me by Heaven Hill for review purposes. It retails locally for between $24.99 and $34.99 for a 750 mL bottle.

Details: Wheat whiskey. 45% ABV. 7 years old.

Nose: Bubblegum, black pepper, black tea

Mouth: Sweet and nutty with caramel, black pepper and bubble gum.

Finish: medium length with" just enough" burn. Peanut and cinnamon fade to reveal a lingering bubblegum note.

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Thoughts: I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I will often take a glass of bourbon to bed with me to sip on while I read a book or watch a little tv. Sometimes, my wife is nice and will get it for us. When she does, she likes to not tell me what she brought. Sometimes this is a scary thing (especially around Bottom Shelf Bracket time) but most of the time it is fun to see if I can figure out what she decided on. After we got this bottle of Bernheim, it was her go to pour. And I realized that I really enjoyed it. It made a nice “end of the night” drink.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products and bourbon-related craft supplies I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. And hey, if you are an iOS user, look for Bourbon Guy in Apple News. Thanks!

Stolen X Rock & Rye

I’d like to thank Ro-Bro Marketing & PR, Inc. for providing this review sample to me with no strings attached.

I knew next to nothing about Stolen Spirits when I accepted the request to send me a sample of their new Stolen X brand of rock and rye. I love rock and rye. It is one of those things that I love to have around for when I want a cocktail, but I’m feeling too lazy to make myself one. Unfortunately, if I have it around, I’m always too lazy to make a cocktail and just end up drinking the bottled stuff instead. One of these days I’m just going to have to make my own. I already make my own boozy cherries and my own orange bitters, why not a bottled cocktail too?

So even though, I knew next to nothing about the brand that was putting out this particular rock and rye, I did know enough about rock and rye to take a flier on it. I mean, I’ve had plenty of bad liquor that is marketed for consumption as a shot (most of it, I’ve poured straight down the drain), but I’ve seldom had a bad rock and rye. So after I said yes to the sample, I got down to Googling.

That’s one of the services we at BourbonGuy.com provide to our readers, we Google so you don’t have to. Here is what they have to say about themselves on their Facebook page:

“Our history is simple and grounded in one fact: We like to party. Our brand was born from two Kiwis sick of their day jobs, a need to escape and the love of a good time.”

And in the press release for the Rock and rye they say:

“Humans have been drinking horrible shots since the discovery of fermentation,” said Marc Bushala, CEO of Spirits Investment Partnership. “There has not been much evolution from the swill that we hoisted in college to what people are shooting today. I don’t really recall why we did shots of a certain herbaceous concoction that looks and tastes like shoe polish, but I remember that we drank a lot of it. The main difference with the popular shot brands today is the use of artificial flavors and sweeteners to make bad booze more palatable - we think that people will love great rye whiskey blended with all natural ingredients that actually tastes good.”

I don’t know about you, but I can get behind all of that. So now that we know just a little about the product, we should probably focus on the most important thing: how does it taste?

Stolen X Rock & Rye

Purchase Info: This review sample was graciously provided to me by Ro-Bro Marketing & PR, Inc. for review purposes. Suggested retail price is $24.99 for a 750 mL bottle with plans to release a liter bottle for $29.99 and 100 mL cans for $2.99 this summer.

Details: Rock and rye bottled cocktail, 40% ABV.

Nose: A lot of orange on the nose plus cinnamon.

Month: Orange oil, cinnamon and honey.

Finish: Lingering orange

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Thoughts: You can tell this was intended to be served over ice. I tasted it neat in a Glencairn first just so that there would be a baseline between this and other reviews. On its own it is very sweet and orange forward. But, when you serve it over ice as they recommend, the rye notes move more to the forefront and the finish is more enjoyable as the dilution allows a bit more spice to show. This is a pretty delicious orange cocktail. I'm a fan.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products and bourbon-related craft supplies I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. And hey, if you are an iOS user, look for Bourbon Guy in Apple News. Thanks!

Rebel Yell 100 proof

I’d like to thank Common Ground PR and Luxco for providing this review sample to me with no strings attached.

It feels as though every single time I start a review of something in the Rebel Yell line, I trot out my old story about how when I first had the brand, it lost horribly in my first ever Bottom Shelf Brackets. And how through the power of brand revitalization and line extensions, I was convinced to give it another chance and ended up thinking it made a decent cocktail bourbon. It’s all very heartwarming.

Today however, I want to talk about something else. Well actually, someone else. That someone is me…well and you. First: me. “Me” is honestly my favorite subject. There is a reason that instead of rehashing dry details on the production or retyping the back of the bottle or the press release, I try to start each review with a bit of a personal anecdote or a tale of how I came to find the particular bottle that we are discussing. Years ago, I found out that if I wrote a personal blog, literally ones of people would read it. Later I found out that If I wrote almost the same blog and added a whiskey review to the end, then all of a sudden (over the course of 8 years) it would gather an average monthly readership of over 15,000 people.

Which brings me to you. Thank you. Thank you for all the emails, the questions, and the kind words. But most of all, thank you for hanging out with me and listening to me tell stories, be they about myself, dogs or whiskey. So let’s all grab a drink and learn about Rebel Yell 100.

Rebel Yell 100 is a new 100 proof variant of, you guessed it, Rebel Yell. It is the same wheated bourbon as the original Rebel Yell, just with more proof. And boy, what a difference that added proof makes. Where the 80 proof version makes a good cocktail bourbon, this 100 proof version can stand on its own when sipped neat. In fact, I’m having a little right now as I write this.

Rebel Yell 100

Purchase Info: This review sample was graciously provided to me by Common Ground PR and Luxco for review purposes. Suggested retail price is $19.99 for a 750 mL bottle. This is (or will be soon) available nationally and at the Lux Row Distillery.

Details: Wheated Bourbon, 50% ABV.

Nose: Cinnamon, mint, vanilla, chocolate.

Month: Spicy tingle on the tip of the tongue. Cinnamon red hots, brown sugar, mint, lemon custard

Finish: Warm and medium length. Lingering chocolate, cinnamon, and vanilla pudding.

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Thoughts: I'm very impressed with this one. I've documented my turn around on the Standard Rebel Yell. I went from disliking it to realizing it made a fine cocktail Bourbon. This 100 proof version is a fine cocktail ingredient but it also works great as an everyday sipper. And at a suggested price of $20? This is a no brainer of a pickup. And this is coming from a guy who normally isn’t a wheated bourbon fan. Yep, as soon as I see it on the shelf, it is coming home with me.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products and bourbon-related craft supplies I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. And hey, if you are an iOS user, look for Bourbon Guy in Apple News. Thanks!

Updated Statement Of Ethics - 2019 edition

I’ve been thinking a lot about the ethics of my bourbon reviews and myself as a reviewer lately. Specifically the implied “endorsement” I give to specific brands by saying that I love or like a product released under that brand. As Americans we are conditioned from a young age to connect to brands. I remember my first Transformer toy and my first Nintendo. I argued which brand of game console was better between the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis with my friends (a lot of times it came down to whether you liked the “branding elements” that were Mario or Sonic better). And honestly, I’m still that kid on occasion. I describe myself as a "Four Roses Fanboy” in numerous posts on this very site.

With the advent of social networks, marketing and branding have gotten so personal that we feel like we know these #BRANDS as people. We know what politics and policies that brands like Apple and Google stand for. It’s as though these companies are a single person with values and not a collection of people just trying to make a living by selling you something. It gets even worse in the whiskey world (though this is not exclusive to whiskey). Brand Ambassador is an actual title that employees have. People interact with the Ambassadors and feel like they get to know the #BRAND. They feel like they should support the #BRAND because they “know” it, when in reality all they know is the company’s carefully crafted marketing presentation.

This past weekend, I came across a Facebook post by Hollis B Worth (formerly Hollis Bulleit). It was a long and hard read. In the post she made allegations of mental and physical abuse at the hands of her father due to her sexuality. Now, I am going to keep saying “allegations” because I have no idea if these allegations are true, I obviously wasn’t there. Heck, I don’t even know any of the people involved. But I do find them credible. The language she used is the language I used myself when I processed something very similar that happened to me, though nothing quite as serious or prolonged as Hollis is alleging.

I’ve always been a bit, shall we say, effeminate in how I carry my body. Not to say I can’t be as manly as the society of my Northern Wisconsin birthplace needs me to be, but I’ve always had a bit more “flourish” to my personality than your usual Northwoods boy. So much so that when I was a teenager, and long before I knew I was bisexual, my father once threatened to “cut off that little faggot pecker” if I didn’t start to “man-up.” Needless to say, the fact that I happened to fall in love with and marry a woman has made him much happier. I hate to think how he would have reacted if that girl in the KISS shirt who gave me the “come fuck me eyes” the day I fell in love with her had been a guy instead of a girl. I guess I got lucky, no one other than my wife ever needed to know about my sexuality. It literally isn’t visible from the outside. And she only knew because it came up in conversation.

So that is a very long way to say that I take LGBTQIA+ issues very seriously. I take abuse very seriously. And just for good measure let’s just say that I also take racism and xenophobia very seriously as well. One of the downsides to #BRANDS working so hard to connect with their audiences is that when the brand—or one of their spokespeople—do something wrong, it feels even more wrong than it used to. No one used to care if their preferred soda company hated gay people. But today, these aren’t companies, they are #BRANDS. And we’ve been repeatedly asked to #JoinTheConversation and conditioned to connect to them in a very different way than we used to. It’s hard on an emotional level to figure out how they could act in a way that is so unlike how you thought they would. It’s like finding out that your friendly neighbor likes to rape puppies.

In short, I do not want to be associated with homophobic, racist, or xenophobic words, thoughts or behavior. And honestly, I don’t have to. This is my site. I run it for fun, not profit. I’m beholden to no advertisers. If I don’t agree with a brand’s stance on something or the spokesperson does something I find repugnant, I’m not going to cover the brand. As such, I have updated my Statement of Ethics to include this. I’ve included the revised statement below, changes are in bold.


This is document will be kept up to date. Things will be added to as things come up. Edits will be made if circumstances change.

  1. I will not allow a comment that disparages women, men, minority groups, or homosexuals (or anyone else for that matter). I will not allow xenophobic or racist comments on the site.

  2. I will not review or endorse brands where I find that there are credible accusations of homophobia, xenophobia, racism, misogyny, other repugnant behavior, or ideals not in line with my own by the company, its officers, or spokespersons. If accusations come to light after reviews have been published, those reviews may be altered, amended, or removed from the site at my discretion. If alterations or amendments occur, that will be noted at the beginning of the article.

  3. In order to avoid comment spam, I will not approve comments that include a link to a different site or email address.

  4. I do not accept advertising or paid posts/content.

  5. I try to purchase much of what I review, but will accept review samples.

  6. When a review sample is accepted, I will disclose it at the beginning of the article.

  7. Beyond the sample policy above, I do not accept trips, gifts, or other compensation in return for posts or reviews.

  8. When I visit a distillery or whiskey event, I usually pay for my ticket and take the same tours everyone else can. In instances where this not the case, such as a Media Event or a “Sneak Peak,” I will disclose that fact at the beginning of the article. This does not mean I won't set up a private tour/visit if the distillery agrees and it will make a good article.

  9. There are spirits industry people who I consider friends. If I ever review one of their products, I will disclose that fact at the beginning of the article.

  10. Though I try very hard to get my facts straight, errors happen. If I make a factual error in an article, I will happily update it if notified and will make note of the change at the end of the article.

  11. In return for the above, I ask that you respect the license that the reviews/posts/images were released under. I release all works on this site under a creative commons license unless otherwise noted. This means you are basically free to do whatever you want with them provided you do two things: use it for non-commercial purposes and give credit back to the site/leave on the watermark. Commercial uses are anything that make money such as a blog that accepts advertising or a presentation that people pay to attend, etc. If you want to use it for purposes outside the license, just send me an email and we'll work something out. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

If you have any questions, click the contact icons at the bottom of any page to get in touch with me via email or your favorite social medium.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products and bourbon-related craft supplies I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. And hey, if you are an iOS user, look for Bourbon Guy in Apple News. Thanks!