I.W. Harper Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
The vanilla aroma carries hints of fresh-cut pear and apple, but the flavor is woody, not as sprightly and fresh as the aroma suggests. Nonetheless, it shows vanilla and almond plus warming nutmeg and cinnamon on the drying finish.
I.W. Harper is a brand that has existed since the 1870s, founded by Isaac Wolf and Bernard Bernheim. The name of their distillery is Bernheim, but the name “Harper” actually comes from the owner of a Kentucky Derby horse the brothers took a liking to.
Though Bernheim has continuously operated since it first opened in some capacity, even during Prohibition when it made “prescription” whiskey, and in the 70s and 80s, the brand was allocated to the Asian market till now.
This straight IW Harper whiskey bourbon is a blend of whiskeys aged between 4 and 20 years at the Stitzel-Weller warehouse, with a mash bill of 73% corn, 18% rye and 9% malted barley.
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The nose is light and airy without a lot of standout flavors, which is to be expected from such a low proof bourbon. Traces of light vanilla, corn, fresh cork, and new oak are all present.
Taking my first sip, I immediately notice how sweet of a flavor profile Diageo imparted on the reincarnation of this brand. Honey, elderflower, vanilla, and toasted sugar are noticeable upfront.
Much like the palate, the finish lacks in complexity. I’m immediately hit with a big burst of juicy Georgia peaches upfront that’s mixed with lightly dried raisins and vanilla.