Friday, May 4, 2007

War of The Wheaters!

Wheated bourbon are the minority in the American Whiskey world. By Wheated Bourbon I mean Bourbon that has Wheat as the flavor grain (Along with at least 51% but usually around 70% or so Corn and a dab of Barley for fermenting purposes), which can affect the final profile dramatically. I did a shootout with all the bottles of wheated bourbon I have on hand at the moment to see which on takes the cake. Now , as usuall take with a grain of salt because I dont have some of the superlative expressions (Pappy Van Winkle and ORVW 15/107 spring to mind). Though I do feel I have decent cross section to survey anyway here goes:

#7 Makers Mark :
I keep reading that they put a lot of effort into making this a special bourbon, which is rather sad because although it is hardly bad, I do not think it is overly interesting either. I think it would be much better if not for its rather jarring finish. Although not bad, I must admit it was a bit of a dissapointment and was left behind by most of the rest I tasted.

#6 Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond:
This is what I wish Maker's Mark tasted like! It has all the same flavors as MM just amped up to the 10th degree, with a lovely long, racous finish on it to boot. I love the term Dave mentioned in describing this one recently, it reall is a Workingman's Bourbon. The Knob Creek of wheaters !

#5 Virginia Gentleman 6 year/90 Proof "the Fox" : The consensus going on this one was that its wheated (though we have no direct source info to be sure), so thats what I am going with. it is a lovely light summery bourbon great for extremely warm days sipped on the front porch over and ice cube or two. It has this interesting sweet/tart dynamic going fo it that makes it even more complex thatn the average refreshing pour. Yummy stuff.

#4 Old Weller Antique 7 Year / 107 Proof:
The Baby VanWinkle. It really is much better than some give it credit for (I wonder if bottle consistancy is an issue with this one) smooth and fruity with a nice long lingering finish, and very reasonably priced. I would probably have this on hand regularly if it was available around here.

#3 W.L. Weller Centennial 10 Year/ 100 proof: About as different from the Antique Weller as a wheated could be. It is big and bold with caramel and Vanilla and butterscotch. It tastes very "Bourbony", almost like a ryed bourbon without the spiciness. I love the finish.

#2 W.L. Weller 19 year / 90 Proof : This one seems like a logical progression with age from the Centennial Bottling. Nutmeg, roasted nuts, brown sugar and caramel, all the similar flavors from before, enhanced by more barrel prescence. One of the best finishes I have had on a whiskey, long and roasted and oragnic. It just Feels right. This bourbon (along with Van Winkle 20 year) are singular experiences, and anyone who loves wheated bourbon should get a chance at it sometime!

And THE winner IS. . . . . . .

Old Rip Van Winkle/ Old Commonwealth 10 year 107 Proof:

Van Winkle makes the best wheated bourbon, period. This one pour out in a dark red wine tone, and tastes with fruit and vanilla (berries) and a balance that is overall hard to describe. Every drop from inital nosing to the end of the4 last finish is a pleasure to behold. And the price on this bottling is more than reasonable too. Everything you have heard positive about VanWinkle bourbon is true, and probably even more so.

Hope you liked my rundown,


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