Weller

Review: William Larue Weller Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

WL Weller.jpg
ABV
67.3%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak; 12 Yrs
Recipe
~70% Corn; 16% Wheat; 14% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

This is about as big as you can get with a wheated bourbon - cask strength, oaky, and nearly 70%. Consistently terrific.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 2015 (67.3%)

  • Bottling Code: B152301238K

  • Bottling Date: 2015

This is woody! Lots of char and caramel on the nose - a bit of a reatrained nose, at first - even diluted. Creamy, candied, spicy....fennel root, stewed apples, caramelized vegetables, tobacco, oily, candle wax - quite dark, really. Very lightly floral - like light jasmine - I was expecting something in the Weller 12 category but this is quite different...

The palate is thick, sweet, and incredibly earthy - the mossy oak sort of earthiness - i love this bit. A touch of dill, and full of rich toffee and old, leathery dried apricot. The finish has a bit of mint and loads of creamy caramel and dried apricot and stewed prune. Huge, sweet, finish. Really earthy - oaky, 

It's one that begs me to be slipped slow and savour - it is nice when the whisky you are tasting takes the reins. Really nice. 

I prefer it with a bit of water in it to the mid-high 50 percent range. More complexity is revealed 

Exceptional (3% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date receive this, my highest recommendation).

Value: High (based on $130)


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

Weller 12.jpg
ABV
45%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak; 12 Yrs
Recipe
~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.


Review: Old Weller Antique 107 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
53.5%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
~70% Corn; 16% Wheat; 14% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

This is the second label up from the basic weller brand, still being on the relatively young side but offered at a tempting 53.5% ABV. Originally, this could only be found in Kentucky, but now it appears elsewhere from time to time. As with many Buffalo Trace bottles, it has a tendency to dissapear quickly - last year in Ottawa there were 60 bottles allocated to the city and they didn't stay on shelves more than 2 days....


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: B132...

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

Much more oak and force than the Special Reserve. Powerful vanilla and milk chocolate and caramel add a confectionary quality to the whisky. Dried cherries, light acidity, apricot (dried, fresh, and jam) and marshy oak as well. Thick and deep on the palate, with quite a bit of sweetness carried forward by the proof of the whisky and quite enduring on the palate. The finish is longer, and, indeed, quite a bit better than the Special Reserve. Ends with some caramel candies. Very enjoyable.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very high, at $35.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: 36020321171J..

  • Bottling Date: 2016

Lots of fruity candy here – grape ju jubes, caramel corn, sweet tarts, cream soda…dried corn, apricot (dried, fresh, jam), dried cherries, and lots of oak. Nice and vibrant. Still confectionary on the palate, with a good dose of dried fruit, but there is a good dose of caramel, oak, and tannin, alongside some rich corn – a touch too much. In this case, the tannins are a bit higher than the previous batch – indeed, the oak is a bit mightier. Wondering if it was too mighty, I added some water and the effect is dulled, the candy comes out – but there is still too much bitter oak. Thus, though still very good, the score drops a point – it would, for sure, be two points if it had come in at a lower proof – but good on them, it did not.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very high, at $35.