Bernheim Original

When it comes to wheat whiskey there’s usually one name that comes to mind above most others – Bernheim. So this week I finally took the plunge and gave it a serious look.

Presentation:

Bernheim does a great job with their bottle. It manages to be classic, classy, and simple all at once. IT doesn’t strive for some false American-whiskey past that other do. It seems to say, “we let out whiskey do the talking.”

The bottle is less than two inches in depth and uses minimal labeling. One side sports a faux-aged sticker with some text, but this is blissfully out of the way. Otherwise the main descriptive elements are the heavy copper-colored name plaque in the center of the bottle front, and the design of the bottle which lets light pass pleasingly through the yellow-amber colored liquid.

Focus here is on the drink and its attractive qualities rather than any semi-truthful origin stories. That’s the way it should be.

Tasting:

The nose is mostly mild, with hints of honey, dry grass, and hazelnut coming through. The honey is very much what I expected – the hazelnut is a bit of a surprise.

To the palate Bernheim absolutely screams “wheat!” when you first take it in. This quickly transforms into notes of unexpected spice, nuts, and green apples. Really quite complex, but not slow at all in its development. The flavors themselves may not be to aggressive, but they develop as though chased by hellhounds.

This turns into a lingering, pleasing spiciness.

Over all:

Bernheim is definitely not what I expected it to be. I was thinking I’d find a mild honey-driven whiskey, but instead was confronted by a hyper-active, but no less interesting drink with some surprising spice.

One thing that I found a little odd was how at points it reminded me of Glenfiddich – mostly at the height of its green-appley moments.

Quite a fine whiskey.

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