10 Best Wheated Bourbons Of All Time Ranked

"All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon," or so the saying goes, according to Distillery of Modern Art. So what differentiates the two liquors? To qualify as bourbon, the spirit has to be produced in the U.S. and matured in new charred oak barrels. It also needs to contain at least 51% corn in its mash bill and be no more than 160% proof (via Men's Journal). And while most bourbon is made from corn, rye, and barley, wheated bourbon contains wheat instead of rye, a grain that gives it a milder and sweeter flavor profile, per Vinepair.

Smooth enough to be enjoyed on the rocks or a perfect addition to cocktails, wheated bourbon is a favorite both with seasoned and beginner whiskey enthusiasts. And while today wheated bourbon is relatively popular, this wasn't always the case. While bourbon is said to have been first created in 1789 by Elijah Craig, wheated bourbon was first produced by the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in 1935 (via Whiskey Wash). Since then, dozens of distillers and bottlers have released their own takes on the drop. To make sense of what's available, here are the 10 best wheated bourbons money can buy, ranked from the decent to the absolute best.

10. Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon

Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon is the first offering of Wyoming's first legal whiskey distillery, Wyoming Whiskey — that's a lot of firsts right there. The boutique distillery, which was founded in 2009, first released the dark amber liquor in 2012 (via Breaking Bourbon). Made from a 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% malted barley mash bill, the bourbon is aged for a minimum of five years in 53-gallon barrels — something that's a little unusual for such a small producer. Each bottle of the liquor comes with a unique batch number and bottling date (via Bourbon Culture).

The award-winning bourbon features a floral nose, with notes of vanilla bean and caramel pudding. The palate is also floral with hints of baking spices, browned butter, caramel, vanilla, and cinnamon. At 88-proof, the drop is light and smooth, featuring a medium-length finish with subtle notes of toffee, spice, and vanilla (via Wyoming Whiskey). A bottle of Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon averages around $44.

9. Jefferson's Ocean Aged at Sea Wheated Mashbill Bourbon

What sets Jefferson's Ocean Aged at Sea Wheated Mashbill Bourbon apart is the production method. Aged for a minimum of four years, the bourbon is then placed on ships. "The constant agitation, weather conditions, and sea-salt air impart a flavor like no other bourbon on the market. As wheat is a softer grain than rye, it allows the flavors that are intrinsic of ocean voyages to be amplified as it will not compete with those flavors as the spice of the rye does," states the Jefferson's Bourbon website. According to Internet Wines, on an average voyage, the spirit visits five continents and more than 30 ports. It also crosses the equator around four times.

While aging bourbon at sea may sound like a gimmick, Jefferson's Ocean Aged at Sea Wheated Mashbill Bourbon has developed a firm fan base. Released in 2012 as a result of a partnership between Jefferson's and OCEARCH, an NGO that monitors marine wildlife, the unique liquor is characterized by aromas of vanilla bean, butterscotch, and caramel (via Casket Cartel). Meanwhile, the flavor of toasted caramel, white pepper, spices, and a hint of sea salt is complemented by the bourbon's long finish, with notes of oak, nutmeg, pecans, and sourdough bread. A bottle of Jefferson's Ocean Aged at Sea Wheated Mashbill Bourbon retails at around $99.99.

8. Rebel Yell Single Barrel 10 Year Bourbon

What makes Rebel Yell Single Barrel 10-Year Bourbon stand out right off the bat is its 10-year age statement. Most wheated bourbons either come with an age statement of under five years or don't feature an age statement at all (via Breaking Bourbon). Crafted by Lux Row Distillers from a mash bill of undisclosed amounts of corn, wheat, and malt, the dark amber elixir was first released in 2016. And while the Lux Row Distillery dates back to the same year, the Lux label has been around since 1958 as a non-distilling producer. According to Modern Thirst, it's very likely that up to recently, most Lux bourbon was sourced from Heaven Hill, a distillery opened by the Shapira family.

Rebel Yell Single Barrel 10-Year Bourbon comes presented in a round bottle with a stopper cork and a label with a handwritten barrel number and distillation year. Because each barrel of the 100% proof liquor is bottled individually, the barrels feature slight variations. Overall, however, each barrel should boast varying intensities of caramel, florals, oak, vanilla, and tobacco notes (via Whiskey Wash). Rebel Yell Single Barrel 10-Year Bourbon retails at around $90.

7. Redemption Wheated Bourbon

Redemption Wheated Bourbon's recipe contains 45% wheat, which is unusually high in an industry where wheated bourbons typically only feature between 20% and 30% of the grain, according to Whiskey Wash. The mash bill composition also includes 51% corn, the minimum for bourbon, and 4% malted barley, via 31 Whiskey. Notably, Redemption Barrel Selection isn't a distiller and sources its whiskey from MGP in Indiana where it's aged for four years in charred new oak barrels, per Bourbon Veach.

So what makes Redemption Wheated Bourbon stand out from the pack? Packaged in a stylish bottle with minimal labeling and a wood-topped cork stopper, the 96-proof bourbon is characterized by soft and sweet flavors due to its high wheat content. The nose features vanilla with hints of hazelnut, oak, and ripe apples. Meanwhile, the flavor exudes hints of oak, caramel, white pepper, and vanilla. Finally, the finish is long and hot, taking the bourbon drinking experience to its limits without crossing the line (via Whiskey Reviewer). Whiskey enthusiasts can get their hands on a bottle of Redemption Wheated Bourbon for around $46.

6. Maker's Mark French Oaked 46 Bourbon Whisky

The brainchild of Bill Samuels Jr., the son of Maker's Mark founders Bill Sr. and Margie Samuels, the distillery's French Oaked 46 Bourbon Whisky is all about amplifying the flavors of Maker's Mark. Building on the original, Maker's Mark French Oaked 46 Bourbon Whisky starts its life as a fully matured cask strength Maker's Mark. What gives the liquor its unique flavor are the 10 seared virgin French oak staves that are inserted into the barrels to give the tipple a bolder finish as it ages (via Maker's Mark).

The first offering from the distillery's wood-finishing series, Maker's Mark French Oaked 46 was also its first major new expression since Maker's Mark went into production in 1953 (via Maker's Mark). So how does Maker's Mark French Oaked 46 Bourbon Whisky measure up? The sipper comes with a sweet nose that features wheat, caramel, cherries, vanilla, and oak reminiscent of a pastry shop or a candy store. In terms of taste, the 94-proof bottle exudes flavors of toasted wood, caramel, sweet grain, roasted corn, cinnamon, and vanilla ice cream. Plus, the drop comes with a mild texture and a long finish with dessert notes and hints of wood (via Whiskey Jug). A bottle of this bourbon will set you back around $42.

5. 1792 Sweet Wheat Bourbon

Barton 1792 Distillery's first-ever wheated offering, 1792 Sweet Wheat Bourbon is made with a 75% corn, 15% wheat, and 10% barley mash bill aged for eight years in new charred oak. While not overly complex, the dense-flavored bourbon features a lovely balance of oak and sweetness. In The Whiskey Jug, Josh Peters describes the bourbon as an easy and harmonious sipper where "the aroma transitions nicely into the flavor which transitions nicely into aftertaste ... [and] each step sets the stage for the next through a daisy chain of cherry heavy dark fruit, dark sweets, oak, and grain." At around $50 a bottle, the distillery's 1792 Sweet Wheat Bourbon is relatively affordable for a drop of its caliber.

Founded in 1879, Barton 1792 Distillery's name celebrates the year the Commonwealth of Kentucky joined the Union becoming the 15th state. Today, the distillery is the oldest fully-operational facility of its kind in Bardstown, Kentucky. The sizable distillery features 29 barrel aging warehouses, as well as the Tom Moore Spring (via Distillery Trail).

4. W. L. Weller 12 Year Old Kentucky Straight Wheated Bourbon Whiskey

Produced by the Buffalo Trace Distillery, W. L. Weller 12 Year Old Kentucky Straight Wheated Bourbon Whiskey is aged for longer than most wheated bourbons. And just like Pappy, the tipple is in high demand — in fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a reasonably-priced bottle. According to Gear Patrol, in 2014, the price of Weller 12 averaged $47. Five years later, in 2019, it was already around $238. Today, a bottle of the amber liquor is likely to set you back in the vicinity of $383.

Introduced in 2011, Weller 12's nose blends caramel, vanilla, and blackberry, which come accented by notes of leathery oak. Richard Thomas writes in the Whiskey Reviewer that Weller 12 is still over-hunted and carries a bit of hype, but is not overrated.

While Buffalo Trace hasn't disclosed Weller 12's exact composition, according to Chris Wright from Gear Patrol, the drop has the same mash bill, proof, and age as Van Winkle Lot B. "Buffalo Trace told me that the difference between the two is simply that the Van Winkle family selects barrels to be included in Van Winkle Lot B; Buffalo Trace tasters select the barrels for Weller 12."

3. Old Fitzgerald 11-Year-Old Bottled-in-Bond

Released twice a year in spring and fall with different age statements by the Heaven Hill Distillery, the Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond series follows the U.S. government Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits. As such, each bottle has to be 100-proof and aged for a minimum of four years (via U.S. Whiskey Report). And unlike some other top-shelf wheated bourbons that feature rather unimpressive packaging, Old Fitzgerald comes in a striking 1950s-style decanter bound to become the pride and joy of any self-respecting collector.

Old Fitzgerald 11-Year-Old Bottled-in-Bond was released in the fall of 2021, becoming an instant hit with whiskey aficionados. With an MSRP of $110 and a retail price in the vicinity of $400, the second Old Fitzgerald 11-year offering is made from barrels produced in 2010 and bottled in 2021. The forest release of the Old Fitzgerald 11-Year-Old Bottled-in-Bond series took place in 2018 (via Breaking Bourbon).

The amber liquor features aromas of butterscotch and brown sugar followed by cinnamon and white pepper with hints of fig, citrus, malt, and bread. As for the palate, the bourbon comes with a pop of brown sugar and salted caramel and notes of white pepper, clove, and cinnamon barely. The experience is completed with the flavors of vanilla, oak, and leather at the back of the palate (via Whiskey Wash).

2. Weller Antique 107

Named after William Larue Weller, one of the leading distillers of wheat whiskey who once employed Pappy van Winkle, the W.L. Weller lineup was originally produced by the famed Stitzel Weller Distillery. Today, Weller Antique 107 — sometimes called Old Weller Antique — is distilled by Buffalo Trace, per Breaking Bourbon. The commonly held belief that the Weller label is crafted using the same mash bill as Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon — a line Buffalo Trace began distilling in 2002 — has only added to Weller Antique 107 pedigree, according to Buffalo Trace.

Aged for around seven years — Antique 107 doesn't come with an age statement — in white oak barrels and bottled at 107-proof, the dark copper liquor yields a dense aroma of cherries, chocolate fudge, and butterscotch (via Malt). The tipple has a well-balanced taste with fruit notes, bold vanilla undertones, and sharp, spicy nuances, with a cinnamon finish. According to Breaking Bourbon, the drop's high proof is very manageable with the bold flavors outbalancing its heat. Just like the Pappy brand, the demand for Weller has outpaced its supply. While the MSRP for Weller Antique 107 is around $30, the bottle is often marked up and can sell for $125.

1. Pappy Van Winkle's 15 Year Family Reserve

As scarce as it's revered, Pappy Van Winkle's 15-Year Family Reserve is the holy grail of whiskeys. Unfortunately, Pappy, as it's affectionately called, is so rare most bourbon enthusiasts will never get the opportunity to sample the golden brown unicorn. And what makes the drop even more intriguing is the fact that Pappy has won pretty much every award under the sun and the phenomenal score of 99 out of 100 from the Beverage Testing Institute (via Buffalo Trace Distillery). While the bottle's MSRP, or manufacturer's suggested retail price, for Pappy Van Winkle's 15 Year Family Reserve is $119.99, the limited supply and high demand for the bourbon have led to it being advertised for as high as $3,999.99.

Crafted in line with the Van Winkle family wheated recipe by the Buffalo Trace Distillery, the 107-proof copper elixir features a sweet aroma of caramel corn and vanilla, and full-bodied flavors of leather, oak, and fruit. The drop has a smooth finish with hints of oak tannins and spice. So what's the verdict on the ground? One bar owner admitted that Pappy's has been the finest whiskey he has ever tasted, writing, "It changed my philosophy about bourbon and showed me what a truly authentic, pure and rich distilled spirit that it was ... Albeit expensive as hell I found it to be the perfect nectar to serve to my heeled customers who could toss around hundred dollar bills for a shot of the finest whiskey" (via Drizly).