When I was in Charlotte, North Carolina last November for Ken Bernardo’s charity event for the Heart Association, I was hosted by Southern Distilling Company. Pete and Vienna Barger, the owners of the distillery, founded it on a business plan of contract distilling whiskey for other people, filling the need for the growing whiskey industry in the United States. However, Pete told me that he wanted to make his favorite style of whiskey for his own brand and that is wheated Bourbon. He has made some excellent Bourbons. I had a chance to taste all of the expressions of their wheated Bourbons. Matt and I had already tasted and reviewed the 90 proof expression, so I thought we would review the other expressions. Here are our tasting notes.

Southern Star Paragon Bottled-in-Bond Wheated Bourbon

Proof: 100

Age: Four Years Old


  • Mike: Caramel, apricots, chocolate and oak wood.
  • Matt: Chocolate, peanuts, prunes and oak wood.


  • Mike: Rich caramel, apricots and peaches, white pepper spice and sweet oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the apricot and caramel are enhanced. Tasted with a pecan and milk chocolate notes come out in the taste.
  • Matt: Chocolate, peanut butter, date and sweet oak wood. The dried cranberry added cherries and caramel to the flavor. The pecan added notes of chocolate and burnt cinnamon to the flavor.


  • Mike: Medium long with oak, pepper and lingering caramel sweetness. The dried cranberry reduced the pepper spice but enhanced the caramel. The pecan made the finish very long with oak and chocolate.
  • Matt: The finish was medium long with oak, peanuts and cinnamon spice. The dried cranberry made the finish very spicy with red pepper flakes and cinnamon added to the oak wood. The pecan made the finish longer with oak and cinnamon.

Southern Star Paragon Single Barrel

Proof: 119.6

Age: No Age Statement


  • Mike: Caramel and chocolate with apricots, pepper spice and sweet oak wood.
  • Matt: Caramel, brown sugar, tangerine and oak wood.


  • Mike: Corn husk, caramel, apricots, pepper and oak tannins. The dried cranberry enhanced the apricot and pepper spice. The pecan brought out notes of dark chocolate and enhanced the pepper spice.
  • Matt: Caramel, citrus, peppermint and oak wood. The dried cranberry gave it lemon, caramel, brown sugar and pepper flavors. The pecan gave the Bourbon flavors of dark chocolate and corn with lots of oak wood.


  • Mike: Long with lots of oak tannins and pepper spice. The dried cranberry enhanced the pepper spice. The pecan made the finish very long with lots of oak and lingering chocolate.
  • Matt: Medium long with peppermint, oak and tobacco. The dried cranberry eliminated the peppermint flavors. The pecan made the finish very long with oak, tobacco and lingering burnt caramel flavors.

I would pair these Bourbons with a cigar that is rich in caramel and chocolate flavors in the smoke. I would reach for a My Father The Judge cigar.

Photos courtesy of Rosemary Miller