Score: 87 points
The I.W. Harper brand was one of Bourbon’s legendary names for decades, and the I.W. came from Isaac Wolfe Bernheim, who founded the Bernheim Brothers Distillery in Louisville with his family in 1872. The brand faded away in America in the early 1990’s, but continued to be sold in Asia under Diageo ownership. In 2015, the I.W. Harper name was reintroduced to the US market with whiskey distilled at the current Bernheim Distillery in Louisville (Heaven Hill now owns the distillery and the rights to the Bernheim name) and matured in Diageo’s Stitzel-Weller warehouses nearby.
The nose has notes of dark chocolate, leather, tobacco, oak, honey, and subtle spices. The taste starts off with a hint of sweet corn, then turns spicy with cinnamon, vanilla, oak, tobacco, and honey notes. The finish is long and smooth with gently fading spices and a touch of oak. (March, 2015)