An historic Bourbon returns to the US… and it’s about time.
Issac Wolfe (I.W.) Bernheim famously came the United States in 1867 with $4 cash and the clothes on his back. He got a job as a bookkeeper for a liquor company and saved his pennies, eventually opening his own distribution business in 1872. Soon, he was distilling and bottling his own brand of premium Bourbon under the I.W. Harper name to avoid confusion with his Bernheim Distribution business. For decades, all I.W. Harper Bourbon was exported. But a few years ago Diageo purchased the company, brought distilling to their Heaven Hill facility, and returned this historic and tasty Bourbon to the US market.
I.W. Harper makes only two products. Both are really good, but let’s talk about the task at hand. The I.W. Harper Straight Bourbon mash bill is 73% corn, 9% malted barley, and 18% rye. Like its older sister Bourbon, this is a center-cut spirit aged in new American white oak. It’s deliciously sweet, very smooth, and has a fruit-forward character and enough spice to hold your interest at 41% ABV. And even though it is an NAS (non-age statement) all Strait Bourbons must be aged a minimum of four years — but to our tastes, there’s a solid mix of some older Spirits in the bottle.