When you hear about wheated bourbon, what’s the deal? Today, @bourbontraveler, Justin Nierengarten joins us again to give us the wheaty scoop. Be sure to follow him for tasting notes and whiskey adventures. Here at Prestige, we’re some of his biggest fans.
In this article, Justin explores a very important cog in the American whiskey machine: wheated bourbon itself. He provides a brief description of the makeup of this whiskey. Then he follows up with its impact on the whiskey drinker. He concludes with tasting notes of some well-known brands. (We would say that’s our favorite part. But it’s all our favorite.)
All right gang. Keep reading for what’s up with wheaters!
Gateway Whiskey: The High Wheat Mash Bill – with Justin Nierengarten
Recent years have shown exponential growth in the American whiskey industry. New distilleries are opening rapidly while established distilleries continue expanding their portfolios. Now, more than ever, a variety of whiskeys are being introduced into our liquor stores, whiskey bars, and most importantly, our home bars.
What Is Wheated Bourbon?
Wheated bourbon is exactly as you would predict: a mash bill containing at least 51% corn (the primary rule of bourbon) with wheat as a secondary grain. This whiskey offers intriguing choices across the full gamut of age ranges. Very young wheated bourbons can extend some complexity, while 20+ year offerings are considered some of the best whiskeys on the market.
The Whiskey Rabbit Hole
This type of bourbon often represents the doorway that leads down the proverbial whiskey rabbit hole. It has an approachable and soft palate. Wheated bourbon is typically sweeter in profile than its spicier, high-rye bourbon counterparts.
It is super easy for a new drinker to enjoy this type of whiskey, either neat or on the rocks. They get the bourbon experience without quite as much of the burn.
What’s the Word on the Wheated Street?
Some examples of easily approachable wheated bourbons are Maker’s Mark, Weller Special Reserve, and Very Old Barton. You’ve maybe heard of these. At the same time, some of the most entrenched connoisseurs are searching out older wheated bourbons as though they were the holy grail. For instance, the full Van Winkle lineup are all wheated mash bill bourbons.
Wheated Bourbon Tasting Notes
Now for the good stuff! I would like to share tasting notes on three products from Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY. Today, I’ll taste three offerings from the Weller product line. It currently has five whiskeys on the market, with a sixth being released later in 2019.
1. W.L. Weller Special Reserve (90 proof; Buffalo Trace Wheated Mashbill)
Nose: vanilla bean, honeycrisp apple, brown sugar
Palate: sweetness, lots of vanilla, slight oak, very straightforward
Finish: nice but quick, slight spice, lingering honey sweetness
Rating: 3 out of 5
2. Old Weller Antique (107 proof; Buffalo Trace Wheated Mashbill)
Nose: cinnamon graham crackers, Werther’s Original caramels, oaky
Palate: very complex, vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, alcohol present but not overwhelming, oak, leather
Finish: initial sweetness fades fast into long, oaky finish
Rating: 4 out of 5
3. W.L. Weller 12 Year (90 proof; Buffalo Trace Wheated Mashbill)
Nose: oak, cigar tobacco, leather forward with slight vanilla undertones, a hint of Applejacks.
Palate: balanced, sweetness with vanilla and applesauce meets incredible oak and leathery goodness.
Finish: slow build, no alcohol burn, oak fades into lasting sweetness.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Justin’s Closing Remarks
Wheated bourbons are great introductory bourbons for anybody looking to dive into this whiskey hobby. They are typically easy to find and won’t break the bank. Conversely, they can also offer great special occasion bottles as well.
Long story short? Wheated bourbons have an option for every type of drinker in the community. Hopefully, this article can welcome some new drinkers or encourage some of the grizzled veterans to share some of those impossible-to-find, out-of-production, great wheated bourbons.
Pouring Wheated Bourbon the Right Way?
Our decanters and whiskey glasses pave the way. (Just in case you didn’t know.) They bring a ton of fun and personality to your drinking experience. We think you’ll enjoy shopping our online store. We have plenty of products that make perfect gifts for yourself and others. Don’t forget to pair a wheated bourbon with your purchase!
Let’s Hear It for the Wheaties!
Drink your Wheaties, and you’ll grow strong, right? Right.
We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Have a favorite wheated bourbon? Please share it with us. Let the Prestige crew and Justin hear your voice and pick.
Stay tuned for more bourbon crash courses, y’all. And if you haven’t planned your Kentucky trip yet… Um, we’re thinking it’s high time you did. Get on it!