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!

Blood Oath Pact No. 5

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

Running a little behind due to paid work overloading the schedule this week. (I mean of all the “terrible” problems to have. I’m too busy making money to drink whiskey. Sigh.) So instead of delaying this any longer, we are just going to cut straight to the details and leave out any of the nonsense I usually like to populate my articles with.

Ok, maybe a little nonsense. Am I the only one who likes finished bourbons as a change of pace once in a while? I know some people decry them as “flavored bourbon.” But I don’t even particularly hate the idea of flavored whiskey (I just choose not to drink it). That said, I don’t think of finished bourbons as “flavored bourbons.” Not if they are done correctly. I mean, sure, Angel’s Envy Rye tends to taste more of rum than it does rye. But a good barrel finishing can make a true masterpiece. I’m thinking of the old 2011 Parker’s Heritage Collection Cognac Finished. It was delicious, I loved that one.

So what about Blood Oath Pact No. 5? Before we find out where this particular finished bourbon falls on the “Angel’s Envy Rye” to “Masterpiece” spectrum, here is what the producer has to say about it.

“Pact No. 5 starts with an eight-year-old ryed bourbon rested in used dark Caribbean rum barrels for six months to add a touch of warm island spice. Once this bourbon picked up some of the rum notes, Rempe combined it with an 11-year-old silky wheated bourbon and an extra-aged, peppery 13-year-old rye bourbon.”

Blood Oath Pact No. 5

Purchase Info: This review sample was graciously provided to me by Common Ground PR and Luxco for review purposes. Suggested retail price is $99.99 for a 750 mL bottle.

Details: 49.3% ABV. Finished in Caribbean Rum casks

Nose: Honey, caramel, cinnamon, and a hint of mint.

Mouth: Spicy and sweet with cinnamon, clove, honey, mint, caramel

Finish: Medium length and warm. Lingering sweetness and cinnamon red hots.

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Thoughts: This is quite tasty. I'm enjoying the combination of sweet and spicy. This doesn't have the same level of rum cask influence as, say, Angel's Envy Rye. And boy do I ever think that is a good thing. With Angel's Envy, the rye is overpowered by the rum. And if I wanted rum, I’d just drink rum. Here the rum seems to accent the bourbon flavors instead of dominating them. And that is what I like in a finished bourbon. I like it to be bourbon with an accent of a complementary finishing flavor. If I had the cash on hand, I'd totally treat myself to a bottle of this.


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!