Liquor Laboratory

15 Best Wheated Bourbons To Drink According to Taste (2024 Edition)

Best Wheated Bourbons

Last Updated on March 2, 2024 by Lydia Martin

A traditional bourbon mash bill is defined by its composition of at least 51% corn, complemented by rye and malted barley.

But there’s this “unofficial sub-category” called “wheated bourbon,” which replaces rye with wheat as the secondary grain in the mash bill, giving a unique flavor profile and sweet flavors.

Through interviews with experts and enthusiasts who generously shared their knowledge and recommendations about the best wheated bourbons, we’ll share with you our cheat sheet, so read on.

Top 15 Wheated Bourbons To Try

 1. WL Weller Special Reserve

Hand Holding W. L. Weller Special Reserve Bottle

Average Price: approx. $25/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 45% ABV 

Nose: Caramel, vanilla, oak, honey, hints of butterscotch

Palate: Soft spices, toffee, dried fruits, cinnamon, and a touch of toasted nuts

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: WL Weller Special Reserve is an award-winning bourbon, and it is our best wheated bourbon– because of its impressive tasting notes.

It has buttery caramel notes on the nose and soft palate, followed by a wooded finish with hints of butterscotch and honey. 

“Wheated bourbon’s signature ‘softness’ can be attributed to the reduced presence of rye” -Liquor Laboratory

FYI, WL Weller Special Reserve shares the same mash bill recipe as Pappy Van Winkle (wheat as secondary grain) and is crafted at Buffalo Trace Distillery. 

It is well-aged in white oak barrels yet light—no sharpness and full of desirable crisp flavors– perfect for sipping.  

2. Redemption Wheated Bourbon 

man holding Redemption Wheated Bourbon

Average Price: approx. $42.49/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 48% ABV 

Nose: Maple syrup, baking spices, toasted oak, caramel, and subtle citrus zest

Palate: Brown sugar, cinnamon, dark chocolate, ripe red apples, and a touch of toasted nuts

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Redemption Wheated Bourbon comprises a high-wheat mash bill (45% wheat). It’s impressively soft with clear, sweet notes, which makes it a good entry point for beginners. 

We like how Redemption Wheated Bourbon provides the notable flavors of espresso beans, vanilla, and dried fruits.

It’s a well-balanced drink that deserves a permanent place in any home bar.

3. New Riff Red Turkey Wheated Bourbon

New Riff Red Turkey Wheated Bourbon with glasses and ice on the table

Average Price: approx. $49.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 50% ABV 

Nose: Honey, vanilla, oak, cinnamon, and baked apples

Palate: Butterscotch, clove, caramel, cherry, and a hint of toasted coconut

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: This wheated version of New Riff consists of 25% red Turkey wheat, 70% corn, and 5% malted barley. 

Aged in virgin American oak barrels for five years, this bourbon gives soft, sugary whiskey flavors with notes of vanilla ice cream, dried cherries, oak, and raisins. 

4. Laws Centennial Straight Wheat Whiskey

Laws Centennial Straight Wheat Whiskey with cocktail drink on a table

Average Price: approx. $69.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 50% ABV 

Nose: Honeycomb, toasted grain, dried apricot, nutmeg, and a touch of vanilla

Palate: Soft wheat, almond butter, sticky toffee, apple pie, and a hint of allspice

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: This great expression of wheat-based whiskey leaves you wanting more. 

Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch and this Laws Centennial Straight Wheat bourbon combine wheat and rye in their mash bills. 

However, we prefer Law Centennial as it’s higher in proof than the Wyoming Whiskey.

It ranks this high because the aromas are more delicate and relaxing to the nose. 

The sweetness and slight spiciness are noticeable as you proceed, but it’s well-balanced, ending with a smooth and lingering finish.   

5. Maker’s Mark Cask Strength 

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bottle

Average Price: approx. $45/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 54%-57% ABV 

Nose: Rich caramel, vanilla bean, toasted oak, cinnamon, and a subtle fruity note

Palate: Intense butterscotch, dark chocolate, roasted nuts, dried cherries, and a dash of black pepper

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: The availability of Maker’s Mark makes it a great go-to bourbon for anyone who enjoys a spirit in its purest form. 

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength version is non-chill filtered [1], bottled at 108-114-proof, depending on the barrels used.

Actually, we don’t expect this expression to be this smooth due to its high proof and budget-friendly price. 

Unlike the Maker’s Mark Rye bourbon, this wheated expression used red winter wheat and malted barley on its mash, so the combo of baking spices, stone fruit, clover, honey, and vanilla highlights the flavor profile. 

6. Larceny Barrel Proof 

Larceny Barrel Proof C922 Whiskey Bottle

Average Price: approx. $59.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 55%-60% ABV 

Nose: Rich oak, cinnamon, toasted vanilla beans, and a hint of caramelized banana

Palate: Sweet honey, dark chocolate, roasted nuts, baked apples, and a touch of black pepper

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Another Heaven Hill creation is this Larceny Barrel Proof, which contains the same mash bill as the expensive bottled-in-bond Old Fitzgerald.   

We like how it gives the satisfaction that high-proof whiskey and cask-strength wheated whiskey offers. Although it’s a little pricey, you get what you pay for. 

Mind you – the Larceny Small Batch bourbon is also good, but this is better. 

7. Whistlepig Homestuck

Whistle Pig HomeStock Bottle on a wooden table

Average Price: approx. $70/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 43% ABV 

Nose: Maple syrup, toasted oak, nutmeg, caramel, and a subtle herbal note

Palate: Vanilla custard, clove, dark chocolate, dried figs, and a touch of rye spice

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Whistle Homestuck wheated whiskey is as pleasing as their rye expressions. Actually, there’s a minimal rye spice within the mash bill of their wheat-based expression.  

The reason for its unusual profile is that this bourbon is a blend of 25% single malt, 30% wheat whiskey, and 45% rye whiskey. 

It’s reasonably enjoyable, and the complexity is just balanced. Though it’s unique and quite delicious, it only ranked this high as there are better options (coming next as you proceed). 

8. Pappy Van Winkle

Old Rip Pappy Van Winkle Bottle

Average Price: approx. $119.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 45.2% ABV 

Nose: Caramelized sugar, dried fruits, toasted oak, vanilla, and a hint of leather

Palate: Rich toffee, dark chocolate, cherries, cinnamon, and a touch of tobacco

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Pappy Van Winkle Kentucky Straight Bourbon is a rare, expensive, wheated bourbon whiskey [2] from Buffalo Trace Distillery.

If Maker’s Mark bourbon with red winter wheat is affordable, the Van Winkle can be thrice (or more) as much in price.

Their wheated mash bill recipe is a mystery, as Pappy didn’t disclose it to the public, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s the unicorn of wheated bourbon. 

You’ll enjoy each sip’s caramel-flavor sweetness and fruitiness, but with hints of leather and oak to balance the flavors, making it more interesting. 

9. Jefferson’s Ocean Wheated

Jefferson's Ocean Wheated Bourbon Voyage 15 Bottle

Average Price: approx. $79.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 45% ABV 

Nose: Salted caramel, salty sea air, oak, vanilla, and a hint of citrus

Palate: Toffee, sea salt, dried apricots, and a touch of nutmeg

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Jefferson’s Ocean is the only wheat bourbon in its lineup. After aging bourbon, it is loaded onto a cargo ship to finish the maturation at sea. 

So, the salt air interferes with the whiskey and creates an impressive profile, aside from the flavoring grain used in the spirit. 

It’s an underrated bourbon and isn’t featured often as a recommended whiskey. But we find it interesting, not just for its flavor, but for its unique bottle and story. 

10. Wyoming Whiskey

Bottle of Wyoming Whiskey on a wooden table

Average Price: approx. $37.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 44% ABV 

Nose: Honey, freshly cut grass, oak, vanilla, and a hint of toasted bread

Palate: Butterscotch, green apple, cinnamon, toasted grains, and a touch of black pepper

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It:  WW released a small-batch bourbon crafted with slight variations from the usual wheated bourbon.

The mash bill [3] consists of corn, malt, wheat, and rye. 

For those unfamiliar with this Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch expression, it’s as lovely as any wheated bourbon from well-known distilleries like Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, etc. 

What makes it a standout is it has the balance of sweetness (from wheat) and spiciness (from rye), making it a good base for cocktails like Boulevardier, Manhattan, and Old-Fashioned.

11. Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon

Man Drinking Garrison Brothers Bourbon Whiskey Small Batch

Average Price: approx. $79.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 47% ABV 

Nose: Warm caramel, toasted pecans, vanilla, dried fruits, and a hint of cinnamon

Palate: Buttery toffee, dark chocolate, baked apple, and a dash of nutmeg

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Crafted from a wheated mash bill, it delivers a rich, deep palate, which is the big highlight of Garrison Brothers Small Batch bourbon. 

The hot climate in Texas, with some chill days, caused this bourbon to juice out flavors from the oak barrels. 

And this is surprising, knowing a small and simple operation can craft something enormous in flavor.  

12. Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond

Bottle Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond and a glass

Average Price: approx. $110/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 50% ABV

Nose: Vanilla beans, toasted oak, hints of citrus, and a touch of nutmeg

Palate: Caramel, cinnamon, baked apple, toffee, and a subtle black pepper spice

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Released twice yearly, Heaven Hill Distillery crafts this Old Fitzgerald BiB wheated bourbon, aged for about four years. 

Unlike other wheated bourbons, we like its unique old-style decanter, great as a collectible and a display on a vintage liquor shelf.

But apart from the impressive packaging, the spirit is excellent as well. 

The sweet aroma of brown sugar and butterscotch is easily recognizable—salted caramel, white pepper, clove, and cinnamon coat the mouth.

The finish is smooth with flavors of leather, vanilla, and oak.

13. 1792 Sweet Wheat

Man Holding Bottle of 1792 Sweet Wheat

Average Price: approx. $32.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 45.6% ABV

Nose: Vanilla bean, caramel, toasted oak, honey, and a touch of butterscotch

Palate: Marshmallow, cinnamon, dried apricots, toasted almonds, and a hint of clove

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: If you’re looking for wheated bourbon that’s not too sweet, 1792 Sweet Sweat fits the standard. 

“The soft flavor is balanced by rich oak tannins extracted by the bourbon while aging in the charred oak barrels.” — Ken Pierce, Distillation and QA Director 

The sweetness in this wheated bourbon is mellow, which is nice and doesn’t reduce the quality of this spirit. Besides, the price point is reasonable for what it delivers. 

We recommend 1792 Sweet Wheat for sipping neat or over ice.  

 14. Traverse City Whiskey 

Bottle of Traverse City Whiskey Co. Barrel Proof Rye Whiskey and a glasses

Average Price: approx. $39.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 43% ABV

Nose: Sweet corn, toasted oak, vanilla, honey, and a hint of orchard fruits

Palate: Caramel, cinnamon, ripe peaches, toasted almonds, and a touch of nutmeg

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Both wheat and rye fanatics will find comfort with Traverse City Whiskey as they offer those two categories. 

But rye aside, the wheated bourbon from TC is interesting. The mild sweetness is close to the 1792 Sweet Wheat, but TC whiskey has more floral notes. 

Also, the citrus-orange note is more savory than Journeyman’s wheat, and the hints of honey, vanilla, and rosemary make this drink more desirable to sip on the rocks, neat, or mixed drinks.

15. Journeyman Buggy Whip Wheat

Journeyman Buggy Whip Wheat Bottle and glass on a countertop

Average Price: approx. $47.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 45% ABV 

Nose: Honey, toasted grains, vanilla, caramel, and a hint of dried apricots

Palate: Butterscotch, cinnamon, roasted nuts, baked apples, and a touch of clove

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: This is the first bourbon whiskey we tried from this brand, but it’s surprisingly good. 

Crafted from corn, malted barley, and wheat, then aged in oak barrels, it gives the vanilla, caramel, oak, and orange notes, which we enjoy over ice, neat, or in a cocktail. 

We’re on edge replacing this expression with the Old Elk Wheated Bourbon, but this Journeyman Buggy Whip Wheat whiskey is a little different, new to the eyes, and just right.

Note: Other spirits that didn’t make it on this list but are pretty good as well include:

  • Larceny Small Batch Bourbon by Heaven Hill Distillery

  • Frey Ranch Straight Bourbon

  • Old Elk Wheated Bourbon

  • Rebel 100 Bourbon

  • McKenzie Bottled-in-Bond wheated bourbon whiskey

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are wheated bourbons smoother than Kentucky straight bourbons?

Wheated bourbon can be smoother than a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey [4] due to the reaction of wheat and corn when mixed.

Corn imparts sweetness, and the subdued character of wheat creates a sweeter and smoother bourbon. 

What is considered a wheated bourbon?

Bourbon is considered “wheated” if it replaces rye grain with wheat, in part or as a whole, along the whiskey production.

Some wheated expressions contain corn, malted barley, and wheat, while some use both rye and wheat in their recipe. 

Why is wheated bourbon so popular?

Wheated bourbon is popular due to its surprisingly mellow, sweet, and smooth taste, which slightly differs from the traditional rye or bourbon expressions. 

Wrapping Up Best Wheated Bourbons From its rich and velvety texture to its harmonious blend of flavors, Weller Special Reserve bourbon whiskey stands out as a top-tier choice for the best wheated bourbon whiskey. 

Bourbon is diverse, so don’t limit yourself to rye, and give wheated ones a space in your liquor cabinet.

Now you know the best wheated bourbons you can try, it’s time to pick which you opt for first and enjoy the sweetness and softness it delivers. 

You’ll see how these expressions can provide the same level of satisfaction you can get from other types of bourbon.  


  1. What is a ‘non-chill filtered’ whisky?

  2. Bourbon Whiskey

  3. How Kentucky Became the World’s Bourbon Capital

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