Skip to content

IW Harper Cabernet Cask Reserve Review

  • by
IW Harper Cabernet Finish Bourbon Review
IW Harper
Cabernet Cask Reserve
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Cabernet Sauvignon Casks
90 Proof
Suggested Retail Price: $49.99

Please enjoy our IW Harper Cabernet Cask Reserve Bourbon Review!

I.W. Harper Bourbon History

IW Harper whiskey was first produced by the Bernheim Brothers Distillery back in the late 1870’s. You may be familiar with the name Bernheim. There’s the (new) Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, KY, where Heaven Hill currently produces its whiskeys, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest and Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey, also produced by Heaven Hill. So who was this Bernheim?

IW Harper Cabernet Cask Bourbon Review
IW Harper Cabernet Cask Reserve Bourbon Front Label
Who was this I.W. Bernheim?

Well, Isaac Wolfe Bernheim was a German-Jewish immigrant who first arrived in the US back in 1867. He was not a distiller at the time. He eventually found work as a bookkeeper either for two distillers or a wholesale liquor company, depending on which source you believe. Eventually, after earning enough money, he brought his brother to the US and the two started a distillery (or liquor wholesale business) of their own, called Bernheim Bros. They eventually started blending whiskey and released a brand of their own.

IW Harper Cabernet Cask Bourbon Side
IW Harper Cabernet Cask Reserve Bourbon Side
What’s with the I.W. Harper name?

So why is this brand called I.W. Harper and not I.W. Bernheim? Well, because of the social climate and prejudices at that time, the Bernheim Brothers felt that it was best to have an American sounding name. So I.W. Harper was born.

The brand did very well until bourbon’s decline in the 1990’s. Then it was sold in foreign markets only, predominantly in Asia, but was brought back to the U.S. in 2015. I.W. Harper is currently owned by Diageo. This Cabernet Cask Reserve is their latest release.

IW Harper Cabernet Cask Reserve Bourbon Review
I.W. Harper Cabernet Cask Reserve Bourbon Back Label
I. W. Harper Cabernet Finished Bourbon Tasting Notes

Let’s taste I.W Harper Cabernet Cask Reserve Bourbon:

🛏 Rested for 15 minutes in a Glencairn

👉🏻Nose: Subtle spearmint, honey, caramel, hint of ginger, mild oak; dark stone fruits, like dark plums and black cherries; relatively light but noticeable alcohol
👉🏻Taste: Subtle caramel, honey, vanilla; mild sweetness
👉🏻Finish: Cabernet flavor shows up in the finish and lingers. Black pepper and tannins build, linger, and blend with some barrel char. Moderately long finish.


I.W. Harper Cabernet Cask Reserve is an easy drinking bourbon. Generally I am not a fan of cabernet finishes, but this one I like. The cabernet is subtle, and doesn’t really make itself known until the finish. Sure, there are some dark stone fruits up front that are probably the cabernet flavors, but they are not dominant and blend well with the bourbon.

Are you a fan of cabernet finished bourbons? Cheers!🥃

We hope you have enjoyed our IW Harper Cabernet Cask Reserve Bourbon Review! Would you like to learn about another finished whiskey? Check out our Midway Distilling Rum Finished Rye Review!

Buy Bourbon Obsessed Hats & Glencairns

Would you like to learn more about distilleries and bourbon? Are you planning a trip to Kentucky Distilleries? Maybe you would like to live the bourbon life vicariously through us?🙂 If any of these are true, then check out today!