I.W. Harper 15 is interesting and not just because it’s a decent bourbon. The I.W. Harper Brand extends back to 1872 and was originally put out by Isaac Wolfe Bernheim. Like many brands it has changed hands several times over the years; its current owner is Diageo who’s using whiskey sourced from the Bernheim Distillery (Heaven Hill). A fitting source if there ever was one.
In Diageo’s Words: I.W. Harper 15
“Sweeter up front with grain and corn immediately apparent, I.W. HARPER 15-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey then moves into notes of oak, raisin, caramel, spice, and vanilla. The finish leaves a long and lasting mouthfeel perfect for enjoying on the rocks, or neat to truly appreciate the full flavor profile.”
For the last 20+ years the I.W. Harper brand has only been available overseas but back in 2015 it was brought back to the States as a NAS I.W. Harper Bourbon and the I.W. Harper 15. I reviewed the NAS a while ago and thought it was ok, it wasn’t something I was dying to buy, but this is a bit different. Without further adieu, let’s dig into this I.W. Harper 15 review!
I.W. Harper 15 Info
Region: Kentucky, USA
Distiller: Heaven Hill (Bernheim Distillery)
Mashbill: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Cask: New Charred Oak
Age: 15 Years
I.W. Harper 15 Review
Layers of dark fruit, spice, caramel, oak, vanilla and cinnamon muffins get topped off with bits of corn and olde time candy. It’s a lovely aroma. There’s something in there that reminds me a bit of OBE, that funky mustiness of old bottles, but not quite.
Dark fruit, spice, toffee, oak, vanilla, cinnamon and grain with a bit of that olde time candy sweetness. Not quite as dynamic as the aroma, but still has a bit of that OBE-like quality to it.
Long fade of corn, spice, toffee and oak
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Good sense of balance, medium body and a warm light syrup feel.
I quite like the I.W. Harper 15. The aroma is sweet and rustic, the palate a slightly muted version of the aroma and the finish kicks up on a long winding rustic fade. A big improvement over the NAS I.W. Harper this is bourbon I could easily drink every day. There’s a depth and a richness to it from beginning to end that’s pleasant and inviting. The only thing it’s missing is that oomph, that bourbon X factor to push it up and over the line.
SCORE: 88/100 (B+)
Thanks to Tehsumo for the sample
IW Harper 15 Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 88
- Palate - 88
- Finish - 88
- Balance, Body & Feel - 88
I.W. Harper 15 is pretty darn good