The Weller line of bourbons has been one of my favorites since early on in my bourbon days. It was a natural step-up from my first love, Maker’s Mark. I remember a few years back when it was easy to get any of the expressions. I always had 2 or 3 bottles of the 12 year on my bar.
Well, thanks (not really) to many factors, those days are long gone. When the bourbon which shall not be mentioned was given the kingship and started disappearing from the shelves and getting astronomical and asinine prices, the Wellers were not far behind. Boasting the same basic mashbill (while barreled and aged vastly different) people started turning these pleasant, delicious, and reasonably priced bourbons into something they are not. It is hard to even find a bottle of this expression.
Thankfully, I know a few stores that carry it so I have a couple of bottles at home on a regular basis. I am not sharing the names or locations of those fine establishments. I thought about not even reviewing this dram for fear of contributing to the plague of over-hype.
I’ve heard rumors the other expressions may slowly be getting easier to find. I will believe it when I see it. For now I’m just going to enjoy the fact that I can still find this delicious and reasonably priced tipple.
W.L. WELLER SPECIAL RESERVE
Distiller: Buffalo Trace
Owner: Sazerac Company
Age: NAS (Use to be 7 years old)
Mashbill: Wheated Mashbill (Private)
Dark honey. Blood orange peel. Coppery amber.
Loads of caramel and vanilla. You can tell this is a wheater. These notes are quickly followed by cinnamon roll covered in dark fruits (cherries). Bread pudding. Apple fritter. Sugar cookie. Snickerdoodle. There is a good bit of alcohol sting throughout which does detract a bit. However, the nose is great and easily the best part of this bourbon.
Caramel, vanilla, and a nice dose of cinnamon. This is followed by some baking spices and a little oak at the end. Not nearly as complex as the nose but still a really nice sip.
Medium to the short end of long. Warm and pleasant. Oranges and dry oak. A little bit of dark sweets linger (caramel, butterscotch, and toffee).
The value is great. Thankfully this is still listed around $20. While it has lost its age statement and is probably a bit younger than a few years ago it is still a really well priced, somewhat available (only drawback to value) pour.
I like this bourbon. The nose is the best part followed by the finish and then the palate. The lack of a dynamic palate, the acetone notes throughout the experience, and the limited availability (in most parts of the country) are the major drawbacks. Still, this is a darn good tipple. Pick up 2 or 3 bottles if you can find it. Prost!
89/100 (A Solid Tipple)