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Bartenders Share Their Favorite High Wheat Whiskeys And Wheated Bourbons

By now, you’re likely well-acquainted with corn-based whiskey. September was National Bourbon Heritage Month, and we committed to it pretty. damn. hard. So you might already know that one of the parameters for a whiskey being referred to as bourbon is that its mash bill must be comprised of at least 51% corn. The rules for “wheat whiskey” (or “high wheat whiskey”) are similar — except that the juice must be made primarily from wheat (51%). The closely related “wheated bourbon” is still bourbon, meaning it’s still majority corn, it just leans heavily on wheat in the remainder of the mash bill.

To explore these expressions further, we asked a handful of well-known bartenders to tell us their favorite wheat whiskey or wheated bourbon. The bottles they shouted out below are sure to make great company as November begins and the weather really starts turning.

Bainbridge Battle Point

Jess Thorson, bartender at TORO Kitchen & Lounge at Viceroy Snowmass in Snowmass, Colorado

Bainbridge Battle Point Organic Wheat. It uses only wheat (no corn) yet is incredibly flavorful. This award-winning whiskey is full of the flavors of sweet sherry, salted caramel, and creamy vanilla.

1792 Sweet Wheat

Carlos Lopez, bar manager at Stitsville Fish Bar in Miami

1792 Sweet Wheat Bourbon. It’s easy to drink and the price point is just right for what you get. While the mash bill isn’t disclosed, this high wheat whiskey is filled with sweet cereal, rich oak, and creamy caramel flavors.

Spirits of French Lick The Wheater

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Zach Wilks, bartender at Anthony’s Chophouse in Carmel, Indiana

I’m a huge fan of what The Spirits of French Lick are doing down in Southern Indiana. They have a whiskey actually called The Wheater that’s a great bottle — it’s super creamy and has lots of vanilla, caramel, and baking spice notes.

W.L. Weller 12

Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami

Weller 12 is always a top choice for me when it comes to wheated bourbon. The composition, flavor profile, and finish come together for a great glass of whiskey.

Larceny Small Batch

Mitchell Meredith, general manager of SOFF’s at JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa in Miami

Heaven Hill Larceny Small Batch is a great wheated bourbon with a 6-year age statement, giving you not only a softer flavor profile, but settled butterscotch notes to be enjoyed on a rock. At 92 Proof, it is always nice to start with a sip neat, and add ice to open up the flavors.

Smooth Ambler Yearling

Jeremy Allen, bartender at MiniBar in Los Angeles

Smooth Ambler Yearling is one of the best values in booze. It’s easily available, bold, and filled with hints of sweet caramel, pecans, and brown sugar. Perfect for a cocktail or on its own.

David Nicholson Reserve

Andy Printy, beverage director at Chao Baan in St. Louis

The David Nicholson Reserve from Lux Row is high on my list. The nose is sharp and woody, but the palate stays true to a wheated bourbon. Loads of caramel and brown butter up front, finishing with balanced oak and citrus notes.

Maker’s Mark 46

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Anna Mains, brand ambassador for Monkey Shoulder

I’m a huge fan of Maker’s Mark 46. It’s full of flavor, but with no bitterness. I think it makes one of the best Manhattans, and there is nothing better than a perfect Manhattan in the fall.

Writer’s Picks:

Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond

This nine-year-old 100 proof wheated whiskey is a great mix of mellow and spicy. It starts off with a subtle hint of peppery spice that quickly moves into honey and caramel sweetness — ideal for slow sipping.

Bernheim Straight Wheat Whiskey

This 90-proof whiskey is aged for seven years. This award-winning whiskey is subtly spicy and full of vanilla sweetness and rich, toasted caramel notes.

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