World Whiskey Society's Rum-Cask Wheated Bourbon

World Whiskey Society’s Rum-Cask Wheated Bourbon (Photo by the brand)

World Whiskey Society

World Whiskey Society’s limited-release 6-year wheated bourbon rests in rum Martinique barrels for 18 months to create a unique offering that lets the best of both spirits shine through. Established in 2020, WWS doesn’t actually do the distilling. Instead, it sources ultra-premium whiskeys from producers worldwide, finishing them in cognac, tequila, sherry, port, peated whiskey, and Japanese Mizunara oak barrels. Although I haven’t yet tasted their other expressions for comparison, the rum-cask-aged bourbon whiskey (51% corn, 45% rye, 4% malted barley) wows.

According to press materials, “The sweetness of the corn plays well with the soft and mellow wheat grain, complementing more complex sweetness imparted by the rum barrels. The aging process required meticulous monitoring to achieve the perfect balance of these flavors. This results in an intriguing smooth bourbon that is excellent neat or on the rocks and can be enjoyed by both aficionados and those new to the bourbon category.”

Tasting Notes

The barrel-proof bottle makes a notable first impression with a cheeky pirate head stopper and paper-money-styled label. Heady caramel, floral honeysuckle, and licorice tease the nose from within the Glencairn noser, leading to an inherently sweet-yet-bold cinnamon note quickly chased by vanilla and apple. Maybe my co-taster and I harbored Caribbean expectations from the get-go because of the rum reference, but we also picked up hints of banana, orange and tropical fruit. A splash of water brought forward notes of musky melon, reinforcing the papaya we’d detected. The finish fades out long and slow with spicy after-tones of allspice and black peppercorn.

In a Cocktail

There’s a lot going on here, but the flavors work together, cascading nicely into each other to create a really tasty product. I tested this bourbon in a Manhattan a few days after my initial tasting and didn’t care for it nearly as much as a cocktail. Much better to drink this one neat to truly enjoy and appreciate all the nuances and complexity.

Keep a close eye on the World Whiskey Society website for ordering information. Pricing hasn’t been released for this particular bottle, but if its counterparts offer any indication, I’d expect it to run around $125.