Backbone Bourbon Company is grabbing the MGP-Bull by the horns and riding it for all it’s worth. They’re bottling both high and low rye bourbons, rye whiskey, light whiskey and now MGP’s wheat whiskey. It’s almost like they want to have a bottle for every mashbill that MGP creates! This wheat whiskey that MGP puts out is an interesting concept. MGP has basically taken the ratios of their 95/5 rye whiskey and substituted wheat for the rye. Heaven Hill and Woodford, the other major wheat whiskey makers, don’t use that amount of wheat in their wheat whiskey mashbills, which leaves me to wonder how this will taste. But I’ve had bourbons and ryes from MGP at this age and found them to still be pretty enjoyable.
This bottle is a store pick by Rural Inn that shows some of the stats like aged in a 53 gallon barrel for 36 months and bottled at cask strength (116.6 proof). So how does it taste? I decided to pick up a bottle and find out for myself. This was sampled neat and in a glencairn.
Nose: A soft, sweet almost perfume-like scent of orchids in bloom. Vanilla cupcakes. Frosted shredded wheat cereal with faint toasted orange peel. Not a powerful nose, but a very pleasant one that encourages you to keep your nose in the glass.
Palate: There is an initial sharp burn with every sip that quickly gives way to a fruit forward palate of cherries and candied orange peel. Cream of wheat hot cereal with maple syrup drizzled on top as well as Honey Nut Cheerios are also easy to taste as the palate turns more “grain-forward.” Surprisingly, I’m detecting a very thick mouthfeel that I don’t normally see for a youthful whiskey such as this. The barrel proof has a lot to do with this, but I’m also wondering if this is also the nature of a wheat whiskey.
Finish: The finish drums up some classic bourbon notes (even though this is not bourbon) of sweet mint, caramel, cherry lozenges and herbal tea. There is some cereal graininess all hang around for a rather long time, making each sip memorable due to its length.
Wheat whiskey is not on a lot of people’s maps… yet. But after tasting this one, it makes me think it will be soon. If Willett sourced a 5 year version of this for a new release, it’d probably fetch a couple hundred dollars easily. The flavors that aren’t quite there are improving and if you throw in some more tannins (something that wheated whiskies are slow to gain, which is why most high-aged bourbon is wheated) then it’s going to be some fantastic juice.
This version makes me both excited to try future versions of this and to see what other distilleries bring a wheat whiskey into their lineup. Until then, I would suggest this to anyone who likes to drink new and different whiskies just to experience the variety that’s out there.
1 | Disgusting | Drain pour
2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it
3 | Bad | Flawed
4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have
5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary
6 | Very Good | Better than average
7 | Great | Well above average
8 | Excellent | Exceptional
9 | Incredible | Extraordinary
10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close
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