Wheat Whiskey Debuts

Vodka doesn’t have a monopoly on variety despite what the never-ending stream of new vodkas might make you think. Look at the world of American whiskies.

Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc. has released Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Whiskey, the first wheat whiskey to enter the market, according to the Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau.

Bernheim Original is a small-batch 90-proof whiskey aged for five years. The 750 ml bottle has a suggested retail price of $39.99. It conforms to government regulations requiring at least 51% of a specific grain to be able to be called by that name, such as wheat whiskey.

The Bernheim name comes from the Bernheim Distillery in Bardstown, Ky., where Heaven Hill distills all its whiskeys.

Why wheat whiskey rather than corn?

"Using wheat was a complete experiment from the beginning," master distiller Parker Beam said in an announcement. "As we tested it in the early years it seemed to mature at an accelerated pace and took on a sophistication typically reserved for older spirits. The wheat contributes a much richer, more mellow flavor to the whiskey."

The whiskey is currently available in 12 markets – New York, Kentucky, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Colorado.

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