Wheated Bourbons Blind Tasting
I recently got together with family for a Blind Tasting of 4 wheated bourbons. If you
haven’t had the opportunity to conduct a tasting, check out my thoughts here on hosting tips and flight ideas. Whether you disclose as you go, or go in blind, it can be a ton of fun.
We brough 4 top-notch, wheated bourbons to the table – all that can be readily found: Rebel 100, Larceny, Maker’s Mark, and Weller Special Reserve. Check out our thoughts on this solid line-up that we conducted blind and continue reading for the big reveal to see how your favorites ranked.
The Pours Revealed:
First, let’s state for the record that there wasn’t a bad bourbon in the bunch. These were 4 solid wheated bourbons that can hold their ground on any given day of the week. While we knew what was poured, we didn’t know what was in each of the glasses. We were able to see each of them lined up and go back and compare them one to another. Second, our noses and palates change from day to day, depending on what we’ve just consumed, so what we tasted here today might be different tomorrow.
Pour #1: Rebel We were pretty consistent and thought this was the least inspiring of the bunch. In my review, I felt it was fine for the price, but lacked some depth, and wondered how it would stack up to some of the other wheated bourbons on the market. As the weakest of the bunch, I was pretty sure this was Rebel, and I proved to be correct.
Pour #2: Larceny I haven’t conducted a formal review of this one, and it probably deserves its own story. Heaven Hill puts out a number of fine bourbons, including the Old Fitzgerald brand and the incredible Henry McKenna Bottled-in-Bond. Our other tasters thought this was Maker’s Mark. I went back and forth on this pour and #3, but landed on the Larceny guess as this one seemed more one-dimensional than pour #3.
Pour #3: Maker’s Mark This is the staple of wheated bourbons and for many bourbon fans is a go-to product. The new 101 rendition might have made an even better showing for this reserve champion.
Pour #4: Weller Special Reserve And our clear winner is this taste-off is Weller Special Reserve. Just a few years ago, this was readily available in most markets in the respectable sub-$30 price range, you’ll now find this one just a tad harder to find on a consistent basis and often for 50% over MSRP. This one clearly hit on all cylinders – eye, nose, palate and finish. It was flavorful, with depth, but also exceedingly balanced and smooth. Clearly this was a solid reminder to be on the lookout for this bottle and to be sure the cabinet never runs dry.
Overall, this was a fun experience and one worth repeating with family and friends. It was great to see how the various brands compared in a head-to-head blind tasting, focusing on what was in the glass and not in the advertising or on the label. And, just as much, there was a little bit fun in trying to guess the brand that was in the glass. While this time, I went 4-for-4, it's important to remember that, as they say, a broken clock is right twice a day. Cheers!