Finally, I had a chance to get my hands on this bottle and all I had to do is fly to Texas for it…
I had never seen this bottle sitting on the shelf. I had only ever seen this bottle being sold on the secondary market or through online retailers. Which also means, I only ever saw this bottle being sold for $100 or more.
About a year ago, I flew down to Dallas, TX to see a friend of mine and I was amazed. He took me to a pretty large liquor chain that had a wide variety of bourbons and other whiskeys. I was amazed because there was a guy in front of me that asked for Buffalo Trace and they told him, “We are always sold out.” Where I live, right outside of Indianapolis, you can find Buffalo Trace just about everywhere. I asked if they had any allocated bourbons or more bourbons in their backroom. She told me, “I believe we only have Weller left if you’d like.” Of course, I accepted and she went to go get it from the back of the store. I thought, people here don’t even care that Weller is available they are just looking for Buffalo Trace and back home, nobody cares that Buffalo Trace is available, we all want Weller. We always want what we can’t have!
She rang up the liter bottle of Weller Special Reserve and told me the bottle was $23.99. I looked at my wife and she said, “That can’t be right, can it?” I responded, “We are just going to roll with it.” We thought FOR SURE this lady made a mistake with the price! Nope. That’s when we realized how much of a mark-up is actually being added to this bottle.
Weller is labeled as “The Original Wheated Bourbon Whiskey” substituting wheat in place of rye in the mash bill. The Weller line-up is distilled by the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Buffalo Trace only has one wheated mash bill, which means this is the same mash bill as the Van Winkle line.
Weller Special Reserve is 90 proof, or 45% alcohol by volume. It does not have an age statement but is believed to be around 6-7 years old. Enough talking, let’s just go for it!
Right off the bat I get a strong apple cinnamon smell. It’s more of a sweeter apple smell like a Fuji apple. I don’t really pick up any spiciness, which makes sense with the rye being left out. It honestly reminds me of when you grab a bag of sliced apples and you open that bag for the very first time. That level of sweetness with a very slight note of caramel.
Neat. With as much apple as I got on the nose, I thought it would come through immediately on the taste. Instead, I’m picking up more of the buttery, savory notes and got the apple note on the finish. I just mentioned a bag of sliced apples. Imagine taking those sliced apples and dipping them in caramel, and that’s what I’m getting on the taste.
Adding a few drops of water. The apple smell is toned down now but definitely still there. It was already a very drinkable bourbon, adding a few drops of water makes it even easier to drink.
Adding an ice ball. APPLE JUICE! Shocker. Any bite that might have been there is gone. It has become really refreshing. I could see myself sitting on my patio on a summer evening, enjoying this on ice.
Mixing with Coke. Most people order, “bourbon with Coke.” This would be more like, “Coke with bourbon.” I think the 90 proof isn’t quite cutting through the powerful Coke flavor enough. If someone prefers the taste of bourbon and Coke without the bite, this might be a good choice for you.
I still carried the apple note through the finish. With the bite being lowered with each addition, I was surprised that I still got a slight “Kentucky Hug” and the finish lasted longer than expected.
In the off chance you are able to find this at the suggested retail price or less, GRAB IT! If not, which is more likely, I don’t believe it’s worth it. A friend of mine was able to find this bottle in Kentucky for more than MSRP, but nothing ridiculous. I have seen this bottle go for well over $100 and at those price points, I think there are plenty of readily available bourbons that would be more worth it. This doesn’t have the complexity to hold up to a price point over $100.
If you are someone who is beginning to drink whiskey neat, or on ice, I would definitely recommend this to you. It is very drinkable.
I could see this bottle at a party with people mixing it, drinking it on ice, or drinking it neat, but all enjoying it.