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.


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. 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, visit And hey, if you are an iOS user, look for Bourbon Guy in Apple News. Thanks!