Review: W.L. Weller 12 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

Weller 12.jpg
Virgin Charred Oak; 12 Yrs
~70% Corn; 16% Wheat; 14% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

This whisky has gone from cheap and commonplace to very hard to find, often dubbed "poor man's Pappy" because it was a well-aged wheated bourbon of high quality, but considerably cheaper and easier to find a few years ago. Now, the whisky is on allocation throughout the world due to its popularity (and rightly so; it is terrific). It tends to come through Ontario once a year, and isn't too hard to find if you watch for it....

The first time I had this, in 2012, I didn't like it because it was too confectionary - but, by the end of the bottle, I was completely converted. I have a reasonable fondness for this whisky now.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: 3310252119: 34B

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Deep and rich, with apple juice and cherry alongside oak, musty corn, and a touch of mint -only this time it is all very nicely integrated as a whole. Complex and deep. On the palate, dried berries and quite tannic with all the oak influence and shows a lot of depth and sweetness. The oak is on the edge, but not enough – it is just about right with the tannin providing good structure. On the end, quite a bit of oak with a complex, enduring finish showing an array of spices which does its work well. More fresh oak emerges on the palate as it sits. Breaching on elegance.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very high, based on $45.