Try as you might, you’re not likely to find the white whale of bourbon, Pappy Van Winkle, for a reasonable price. Blame the limited supply of 15-, 20-, or 23-year-old juice, blame distributors for unfair allocations, blame retailers for marking up bottles into the thousands, or blame the secondary market for perpetuating the astronomical pricing, but the hype for Pappy shows no signs of slowing. Thankfully, there are plenty of absurdly delicious, readily available wheated bourbon alternatives that won’t break your wallet.
What’s a wheated bourbon? Simply, it’s a bourbon with a mash bill that uses more wheat grains in lieu of the traditional rye as the second ingredient, behind corn. “Many people are turned off by the bourbon category because the spice in the whiskey is too much,” explains Flavien Desoblin, owner of Brandy Library and Copper and Oak, two of the most prominent whiskey bars in New York City. “The rye is what gives you that spice. Remove the rye from the equation, and you end up with a bourbon that is softer, sweeter, and more fruity; a bourbon most people like.”
Here are seven wonderful “wheaters” that you’ll love.
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