When it comes to bourbons, there is a wide range of options to choose from, each with its own unique flavor profile. One particular category that has gained significant popularity in recent years is wheated bourbons. These bourbons are known for their smooth and silky texture, along with a slightly sweeter taste compared to their rye-heavy counterparts. As a bourbon enthusiast, I have had the privilege of exploring various wheated bourbons and narrowing down my list of the top 8 best options. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the world of wheated bourbons!
1. Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15 Year
No list of the best wheated bourbons would be complete without mentioning Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15 Year. This bourbon is often regarded as the holy grail of wheated bourbons, and for good reason. Its rich and complex flavor profile offers notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak, making it an absolute delight to savor. The only downside is its limited availability and high price tag, but for those lucky enough to get their hands on a bottle, it’s a truly exceptional experience.
2. W.L. Weller 12 Year
Next on the list is W.L. Weller 12 Year, a bourbon that offers fantastic value for its quality. It shares the same mash bill as Pappy Van Winkle, making it an affordable alternative with a similar flavor profile. The W.L. Weller 12 Year boasts a well-balanced combination of sweetness, spice, and oak, with a smooth and velvety finish.
3. Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year
Another gem from the Van Winkle family, Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year is a wheated bourbon that exudes elegance. With its medium to full-bodied nature, it showcases flavors of butterscotch, dried fruits, and a hint of cinnamon. The 10-year aging process adds a layer of complexity and richness that is hard to resist.
4. Maker’s Mark Cask Strength
If you prefer a wheated bourbon with a higher proof, Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is an excellent choice. Bottled at barrel proof, this bourbon delivers a robust flavor profile with intensified notes of caramel, vanilla, and baking spices. Its higher alcohol content brings an added warmth and depth to each sip.
5. Larceny Barrel Proof
Larceny Barrel Proof is a wheated bourbon that packs a punch. As the name suggests, it is bottled at a higher proof, resulting in a bolder and more intense flavor profile. The palate offers a delightful combination of caramel, dark chocolate, and toasted oak, with a long and satisfying finish. It’s a bourbon that certainly demands attention.
6. Rebel Yell Single Barrel 10 Year
Rebel Yell Single Barrel 10 Year is a wheated bourbon that often flies under the radar but deserves a spot on this list. It is aged for a decade, which imparts a remarkable depth of flavor. This bourbon balances the sweetness of caramel and vanilla with notes of charred oak and a touch of spice, making it a well-rounded and enjoyable pour.
7. William Larue Weller
William Larue Weller is a wheated bourbon that is part of Buffalo Trace’s highly coveted Antique Collection. It is uncut and unfiltered, with each batch showcasing its unique characteristics. This bourbon is a powerhouse, with a bold and complex flavor profile featuring notes of dark fruit, leather, and tobacco, all wrapped in a velvety texture.
8. Bernheim Original Straight Wheat Whiskey
Although not technically a bourbon, Bernheim Original Straight Wheat Whiskey deserves a mention for its wheat-forward mash bill. This whiskey offers a unique perspective on wheated spirits, with flavors of honey, toasted nuts, and a touch of spice. Its smoothness and approachability make it a great choice for both whiskey enthusiasts and beginners alike.
In conclusion, wheated bourbons have a special place in the hearts of many bourbon enthusiasts, including myself. The 8 options mentioned above represent some of the finest examples of this category, each offering its own distinct characteristics and flavor profiles. Whether you’re a fan of the legendary Pappy Van Winkle or looking for a more affordable alternative, there’s a wheated bourbon out there that will surely satisfy your palate.