Buffalo Trace Distillery
Undisclosed (Wheated Mash Bill)
History – The Weller brand name is a name that everyone in the bourbon space knows due to the rich history and coveted bourbon offerings. The Stitzel-Weller Distilling Company, which now operates out of Buffalo Trace Distillery, became famous for its wheated bourbon recipe. This recipe uses wheat instead of rye in the mash, delivering a softer, smoother taste. During his career at W.L. Weller and Sons, William Larue Weller hired the famous Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle Sr. as a traveling salesman. In 1899 William Larue Weller passed away leaving a legacy to his sons. In 1908, Julian Van Winkle Sr. and partner Alex Farnsley purchased the wholesale company, W.L. Weller & Sons from the Weller sons who no longer wished to be in the bourbon business. The company, under new ownership, worked together with A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery through Prohibition, operating under a medicinal license. The companies eventually merged, becoming known as the Stitzel-Weller Distilling Company in 1935. William Larue Wellers name continues to be honored today with several offerings including, William Larue Weller, Weller 12 Year, Weller Special Reserve, Weller Antique 107, Weller Full Proof, Weller C.Y.P.B., and Weller Single Barrel.
An interesting fact about this bottle is that it is rumored to have a very similar if not the same mashbill used in the Van Winkle lineup. Because of this, many people often try to create what’s called “Poor Man’s Pappy” using a 2:3 blend of Weller 12 Year and Weller Antique 107.
Weller Antique 107 has an extremely long list of awards. The most recent ones of 2022 are:
-2022 Gold American Whiskey Masters
-2022 Silver North American Bourbon and Whiskey Competition
-2022 Gold New York World Wine & Spirits Competition
-2022 Silver Whiskies of the World
-2022 Bronze International Wine & Spirits Competition
-2022 Double Gold TAG Global Spirits Awards
-2022 Double Gold San Francisco World Spirits Competition
-2022 Gold Denver International Spirits Competition
-2022 Gold International Spirits Challenge
-2022 Gold ASCOT Awards
-2022 Excellent / Highly Recommended (90-94 pts) Ultimate Spirits Challenge
Value -This bottle is a little pricey for what it is. Unfortunately, popularity and rarity of the bottle has driven the price up. Currently, in 2023, a pretty common price is anywhere in the $130-$150 range. I was very lucky and found one for $95.
Appearance – This bottle is the iconic Weller bottle shape with a maroon label. These bottles are really shaped beautifully and have very ergonomic curves. The bottle is filled with a medium brown colored bourbon and has a standard corked top with gold colored seal. It’s pretty basic, but there’s nothing wrong with that. What matters is what’s inside.
Nose – Light Alcohol / Old Oak / Calm / Vanilla. This nose is very calm and welcoming. It has a smooth, light alcohol hit to it and is very well balanced with sweet oak. The oak notes smell older and seasoned. The sweetness is the most prominent characteristic of the nose. It really resembles the sweetness of a dessert such as a sweet vanilla custard dusted in cinnamon.
Palate – Medium Alcohol / Creamy / Full-Bodied / Cinnamon / Oak. This pour has a great feel in the mouth delivering that creamy and full-bodied sip we all hope for. There is a prominent smooth oak note with some light vanilla thrown in there. There is a noticeable cinnamon spice note to it as well that is found more toward the back of the palate and right after swallowing. It maintains a medium heat level that grows on you the more you sip it.
Finish – Lingering Heat / Cinnamon / Oak Tannin. This finish lingers for quite a while. I can see why some people may really like the warming characteristic of this bourbon. It’s very cinnamon forward, with a very long lingering heat that really stays with you. If you take a big sip, it stays around even longer. In the end, you’re left with some cinnamon and oak tannin notes.
Summary – Overall, I was very happy with this tasting. I came in expecting a lot out of this bottle because of all the hype around Weller. Initially after taking a sip, I really wasn’t that impressed. I know that’s a shock to hear after what was said during the review, but of course you can’t judge a bourbon by just one sip. After taking a few sips, it really starts to grow on you and you notice more and more flavors. Overall, every part of this is very pleasant. What really stands out to me is the finish. The warming effect of the finish on this bourbon is outstanding.
“If you can find this bottle at a price under $100, you should buy it. It takes some warming up to, but once you are warmed up to it, it’s wonderful. I enjoy all parts of this sip, especially the spicy, cinnamon heat on the finish.“
– John McGowan
Uniqueness – 1-10 – 8
Appearance- 1-10 – 8
Nose- 1-20 – 16
Palate- 1-20 – 15
Finish- 1-20 – 17
Value- 1-20 – 8
John McGowan on 3/8/2023
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