Rosemary is inventorying our whiskey collection and she has several of what she called “square peg whiskeys” – whiskeys that don’t fit into the round holes of Bourbon or Rye whiskeys. These are whiskeys such as corn whiskey, wheat whiskey and blended or sour mash whiskey. Here are six of these whiskeys that I think everyone should try and add to their collection.
Mellow Corn Bottled-in-Bond: This corn whiskey is from Heaven Hill and it is a gem. The taste is not complex – buttered popcorn with a hint of sweet oak wood. It is very reasonably priced – often less than $10.00 and easy to find.
Balcones Baby Blue Corn Whiskey: Made at the Balcones Distillery in Texas, this corn whiskey is made with a heritage variety of blue corn. It has a flavor of corn chips with a little vanilla sweetness and oak. It is easy to find and not expensive considering it is from an artisan distillery.
Bernheim Wheat Whiskey: Heaven Hill, after purchasing the Bernheim Distillery, found that they had more wheat at the distillery than they needed to make Old Fitzgerald, so they decided to make a wheat whiskey. It turned out to be an excellent product and added it to their portfolio of brands on a permanent basis. It is not expensive and easy to find and makes for an interesting comparison with Bourbons made with wheat. The flavor is vanilla and oak with some apple fruit and pepper.
Corsets, Whips and Whiskey: This 100% wheat whiskey is made at the Journeyman Distillery in Michigan. The flavor is rich vanilla, oak, pepper and hazelnuts. It is an excellent whiskey. It may be a little harder to find, but it is not expensive considering it is from an artisan distillery. It makes an excellent whiskey sour.
Michter’s Sour Mash Whiskey: This is a whiskey made with about 45% corn, 45% rye and 10% malted barley – not enough corn to be a Bourbon and not enough rye to be a Rye Whiskey, so they simply call it “Sour Mash Whiskey”. The flavor is rich caramel and butterscotch with some baking spices and oak. It makes an interesting comparison to both Bourbon and Rye. It is priced in the $40 range and is easy to find.
Michter’s Unblended American Whiskey: This whiskey is made with used cooperage. It is called “Unblended” because it has no neutral spirits added to this blended whiskey. The taste is sweet corn, rye grass, vanilla and caramel with a touch of pepper spice and oak. It is priced similarly to their Sour Mash Whiskey and is easy to find. It makes a great whiskey sour or old fashioned cocktail.
These six whiskeys do not fit into the normal categories of common whiskeys, but they are well worth adding to your collection.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller