For a lot of people, there's nothing better than a nice glass of bourbon at the end of a tough day. It can be the perfect way to unwind and relax.
In fact, there are plenty of people who get really into their bourbons and whiskies and want to sample the finest from across the world.
Today, we're only concerned with a certain variety of bourbon, but what actually is the difference between bourbon and whiskey? And why should I care?
Bourbon is a type of American whiskey produced from corn or rye grains. Whiskey is a spirit distilled from grain such as barley, wheat, oats, rye, or maize.
The two spirits share some similarities, but they also differ significantly. For example, bourbon has a higher alcohol content (around 40% ABV) compared to whiskey (around 45%).
Whiskey is typically aged longer than bourbon, resulting in a smoother taste. There are many types of whiskey, ranging from single malt to blended whiskies. Some brands even offer special flavors, such as chocolate, vanilla, and coffee.
However, the difference is mostly down to personal taste and there are many who can't get enough of the bourbon-y flavor!
In this article, we're taking a look specifically at wheated bourbon and helping you find a new brand to try out!
What Is Wheated Bourbon?
Wheated bourbon is an American style of bourbon that uses a different process to create its unique flavor.
It all comes down to the set of ingredients used to make the drink. For example, it's a legal requirement for all bourbon to be made from a mash bill containing at least 51% corn.
The other ingredients are traditionally made up mostly of barley and rye. However, when you replace the rye with wheat, you get what's known as a wheated bourbon. Neat, right?
This tends to give the bourbon drink a smoother, sweeter flavor overall that some people prefer.
So, if you're thinking about getting into bourbon drinking but don't know if you can handle some of the harsh flavors, these wheated bourbons might be the best way to ease into it.
OUR TOP PICK
If you've ever spent any time researching premium bourbons, there's a good chance you will have heard of Pappy Van Winkle before.
It's easily one of the most expensive bourbons you can get online, so it's definitely something you should think carefully about purchasing if you're new to bourbons. This is more of a special occasion kind of bottle.
If you do ever get the chance to sample this amazing bourbon, you'll be treated to aromas of dried mango, spiced peach, and other fruits, which light up your nostrils.
However, these scents are accompanied by some more mellow flavors of cocoa, honey, and smokey tobacco.
Of course, because it's such an expensive bottle, we'd recommend doing some research and finding the best place to purchase it, but you'll be treated to some of the finest wheated bourbon if you do.
Redemption is another great option for those looking for a smooth-tasting wheated bourbon. It's not quite as pricey as the Van Winkle Special Reserve, but it's still a pretty decent price point.
You'll notice that Redemption does tend to use a lot of caramel notes in their wheated bourbon. These come through on the nose and palate, giving the drink a sweet, almost candy-like flavor.
There's also a hint of spice and fruitiness that makes this one a little different from others. The finish is slightly dry and has hints of cinnamon and nutmeg.
As far as the quality goes, Redemption is often available in both 750ml bottles and 1-liter bottles. If you want to save money, then the smaller size is perfect for stocking up on.
Maker's 46 is another popular choice among wheated bourbon drinkers. It's actually owned by Maker's Mark, but they decided to release a separate line of whiskey called Maker's 46.
The Maker's 46 line features a variety of different styles of whiskey including wheated bourbons. One of the best options is the Maker's 46 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
This particular style of bourbon is very similar to Maker's Mark, but it uses wheat instead of rye. That means you won't find any of the spicy or peppery qualities that make Maker's Mark so unique.
Instead, Maker's 46 gives off a much softer, sweeter taste that's reminiscent of vanilla ice cream. You'll also notice that the Maker's 46 is slightly less expensive than Maker's Mark.
One of the newest wheated bourbons on our list is the 1792 Sweet Wheat Kentucky Straight. This one was created by Buffalo Trace Distillery specifically for the market of people who prefer a lighter-tasting wheated bourbon.
This is a perfect example of what a wheated bourbon should look like. There's no spice at all, just a nice balance between sweetness and alcohol.
On top of that, the 1792 Sweet Wheat is really easy to drink. It doesn't have a ton of complexity, but it's incredibly smooth.
It's also worth noting that this particular wheated bourbon is only available in 375ml bottles. So, if you want to stock up, you might need to buy multiple bottles.
If you're looking for something a little more complex, then Maker's Mark is definitely going to be right up your alley.
Maker's Mark is known for its rich smoky flavor. This is thanks to the fact that it's made with 100% corn.
While Maker's Mark can be found in many flavors, the most common are the original and the Cask Strength.
Both of these varieties feature a deep red color and a strong oak flavor. They're also extremely high proof, which means they pack a punch when it comes to alcohol content.
However, if you'd rather enjoy a milder version, then you may want to try the Maker's Mark Single Barrel.
This particular variant is aged in charred new American white oak barrels. As a result, it has a light caramel aroma and flavor.
Like other wheated bourbons, Maker's Mark tends to be fairly inexpensive. However, you will pay a premium price for the barrel aging process.
Another great option from Weller is their Special Reserve Bourbon. While this isn't technically a wheated bourbon, it does contain some wheat.
That said, there aren't any spices involved, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer a mellower-tasting bourbon.
On top of being relatively affordable, the Special Reserve is also pretty easy to drink. It's got a clean finish and a pleasant aftertaste.
That makes it a good option for anyone who wants a simple bourbon experience.
In addition to offering a wide variety of wheated bourbons, Garrison Brothers also offers a small batch bourbon.
Unlike the rest of the options on this list, the Small Batch is actually a blend of two different types of whiskey.
That's because the Small Batch features both a rye and a wheat component. The rye adds a spicy character while the wheat brings out notes of vanilla.
As a result, the Small Batch has a unique flavor profile that's unlike anything else on this list.
As far as pricing goes, the Small Batch costs about $35 per 750ml bottle. That's not too expensive considering how unique it is.
One final option we'll mention is Larceny's Small Batch Bourbon. Like the Garrison Brothers Small Batch, this variant is a blend of rye and wheat whiskeys.
But instead of using two separate spirits, Larceny blends them together into one single spirit.
As a result of this blending process, the Larceny Small Batch is much smoother than either of the individual components would be on their own.
And like the Garrison Brothers Small Bitch, the Larceny is surprisingly affordable. You can get a 750ml bottle for just under $30.
So if you're looking for a smooth bourbon that won't break the bank, then look no further than Larceny's Small Batch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Bourbon Has The Most Wheat?
One of the first bourbon brands to popularize wheated drinks was Pappy Van Winkle, which is also one of the most expensive bottles on our list. However, pretty much every bourbon we've looked at in this article contains as much wheat as the others.
What Bourbon Has The Same Mash Bill As Pappy?
Weller is probably the closest thing to the original recipe that Pappy used when he started distilling his brand back in 1935. Both are made with corn and barley malt, but they use slightly different aging techniques.
How Do I Know What Kind Of Wood Is In My Bourbon?
You can find the type of wood used during production by checking the label or asking your retailer.
If you want to learn more about the differences between American oak barrels and European oak barrels, check out our guide to the difference between American Oak vs European Oak Whiskey Barrels.
Where Should I Store My Bourbon?
If you live in a humid climate, storing your bourbon in a cool place will help keep it fresh longer.
But if you live somewhere where temperatures fluctuate wildly throughout the year, then you might want to consider keeping your bourbon in a refrigerator.
If you'd rather avoid refrigeration altogether, then you could always try standing your bottles upright in an open area.
This will allow air to circulate around the bottles, helping to prevent mold from forming inside.
We hope you found these reviews helpful! Even if you've never drank bourbon before, any of the bottles we've reviewed in this list is bound to get you hooked!