Wheat Whiskey Showdown - Bernheim Original vs Woodford Reserve Wheat Whiskeys

Wheat Whiskey Showdown

We compare two Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskeys: Bernheim Original and Woodford Reserve Wheat Whiskey

Wheat whiskey is similar to bourbon, except the dominant grain (at least 51%) is wheat, rather than corn. All the other rules apply, such as the requirement to be aged in a new charred oak container. Like bourbon, the remainder of the mash bill can be made up of any other grains, but they are usually corn and malted barley. Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey’s mash bill utilizes just over 50% winter wheat, with the remainder comprised of corn and malted barley, and it is aged for 7 years. (The exact percentages may be 51%-39%-10%, according to ModernThirst.com.) Woodford Reserve Wheat Whiskey uses 52% wheat, 20% each of malted barley and corn, and 8% rye with no age statement given, and therefore at least 4 years old.

While these whiskeys have similarities, they do have some taste differences. As the only wheat whiskeys made by the major Kentucky distilleries, it was interesting to taste them side by side. They both have more fruitiness than many bourbons, but otherwise they were different.


Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey

90.4 Proof
~Nose: Sweet, fruits like cherry, pear and banana. A hint of chocolate and caramel with little noticeable alcohol.
~Taste: Medium bodied and sweet, with caramel, chocolate and continuing light fruit.
~Finish: It rapidly develops some astringency, barrel char and dryness. Some of the fruit flavor continues, but without the sweetness, although fruit rises up again at the end. The finish is fairly long for the proof and I am left with a lingering fruit loops like flavor.

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Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey

90 Proof
~Nose: Caramel, oak , light leather, fruits like apple, pear and cherry. Alcohol is noticeable.
~Taste: Sweet, caramel, toffee, fruit flavors like a light juicy fruit gum.
~Finish: Caramel, bubble gum, some oak and light char. The finish is moderately long.


It is interesting that the alcohol is more noticeable in the nose of the Bernheim, even though the proof is every so slightly lower than the Woodford. The Bernheim has more barrel flavors, probably due to the (presumed) longer aging. The Bernheim’s flavors are more consistent throughout, whereas the Woodford develops the dryness and astringency at the finish, abruptly terminating the original sweetness. Overall, these were great to try for a change of pace, and they have some unique qualities.

Have you tried any wheated whiskey? What did you think? Stay safe you all. Cheers!🥃

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