Weller Bourbons had a literal jump from being a bottom-shelf mixer and collecting dust in their bottles to becoming one of the most sought-after spirits in the world.
Read on as we give our honest take on this hype about the best Weller bourbon expressions.
Top 7 W.L. Weller Bourbon Signature Expressions
1. William Larue Weller
First released in 2005, this product is the only expression that uses the full name of William Larue Weller. The original price point for a bottle of this whiskey is around $99. It contains 125.3 proof and is aged more than 12 years, making it a whiskey with high age, high alcohol content, and barreled proof.
The nose is heavy on the woody aroma with a little cola sweetness and dark fruit notes. It also has a velvety soft mouthfeel from the first sip, but it develops a taste of brown sugar, cinnamon, rich honey, vanilla, and spiced apple on your palate. The heat intensifies as it finishes in a long and drying spiciness.
2. Weller Aged 12 Years
This variety is the one mostly compared to Van Winkle’s 12-Year. But in 2016, the similarities between the two liquors increased the demand for Weller 12-Year, making it another hard-to-find drink.
You can still find some bottles at a suggested price of about $40 at some high-end groceries. But some retailers already charge a price of $200 or more for one bottle of this product.
It is a 90-proof bottle with the smell of rich vanilla, candied caramel, and robust oak. The liquor enters the mouth with a soft, creamy, and buttery texture backed by hints of dried fruit, vanilla, and dark spices. It finishes in a burst of warm oak and lingering heat.
3. Weller Antique 107
After the Weller name gained immense popularity, Weller Antique 107 is one of the products you can still find on a bar shelf or in some high-end stores. It has no age statement in the bottle, but it has a younger taste than Weller 12 Year.
The Weller Antique 107 contains more alcohol, but it surprisingly mixes well with cocktails. You can also have it as a daily sipper. Its nose is full of black licorice and seasoned oak traces, while the palate has a heavy mouthfeel of dark fruits, vanilla blossoms, and sweet apples.
The Antique 107 price point ranges from $20 to $30 before but increases to around $50.
4. Weller C.Y.P.B.
The Weller C.Y.P.B. joined the expanding Weller varieties in 2018, just two years after launching their interactive website. This website lets their hardcore fans or liquor enthusiasts decide on every aspect of whiskey making.
The result is a whiskey with a high percentage of wheat as the secondary grain content instead of rye. It also has 95 proof alcohol and a suggested retail price of around $50.
C.Y.P.B. is an interesting expression because it enhances the balanced sweetness and intense oak flavors associated with the brand. Since this product is limited-edition, you can find it at some retailers at a skyrocketed price of more than $500.
5. Weller Full Proof
Weller Full Proof is the purest expression from the company, with no filtration and no water added to the liquor. The process is about imparting all the woody flavor of the barrels to the whiskey’s pure form while maintaining 114 alcohol proof.
This variety has a similar aroma to the Weller Antique 107 but is slightly sweeter and gentler. The palate is full of sweetness, from bright fruit notes to candied caramel and vanilla. But the sip finishes in a little spicy and heated layer of oaky notes.
You can sip the Full Proof neat or play around with this variety’s rich sweetness by mixing it in a cocktail or just having it on the rocks.
6. Weller Single Barrel
After the Antique 107 and Full Proof, the Single Barrel is the latest addition to the brand’s lineup that they started releasing in June 2020. Its initial price is about $50 with 48.5% ABV, but now you can find this variety at secondary markets with a price of more than $700.
The nose opens with bright hints of ripe red cherries and continues to the mouth with soft vanilla and dry wood taste. It eventually builds up with white pepper and dark chocolate notes and slowly finishes with woody vanilla and mild tobacco.
7. Weller Special Reserve
At 90-proof alcohol content, Weller Special Reserve Wheated Bourbon has an exceptionally smooth taste that is pleasant to drink every day. Although it has no age statement, you can feel the young texture of this whiskey on the palate.
Weller Special Reserve is a gentle mixer or daily sipping spirit that tastes like a mix of caramel, vanilla, honey, and light fruit. The heat only appears in the finish but is almost negligible.
The suggested retail price of this variety is around $25, but you can find it at roughly $55 with some retailers. This bourbon is the best in class at its original price point among the Weller line.
What is W.L. Weller Bourbon?
W.L. Weller is a brand of wheated bourbons named after a Kentucky distilling pioneer, William Larue Weller. In 1849, he introduced using wheat instead of the usual rye in making a straight bourbon.
Buffalo Trace followed the original blend of W.L. Weller on their modern whiskey products. The company produces seven signature varieties these days, with the Single Barrel as the latest addition in 2020 .
These bourbons gained immense popularity from the public and numerous awards from the world’s largest spirits competition.
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How Its Made
The mash bills of this whiskey went through the milling process first. It is a crucial process because it has to maintain the integrity of the grains before cooking.
The milled grains and pure limestone are put into a cooker to make a sweet mash. This sweet mash will go through the fermentation process with a sour mash to transform it into alcohol.
The liquor will go through the aging process in new charred oak barrels before transferring into the bottles. Some Weller bottles have no age statements, but they range from four to twelve years.
Who Makes Weller Bourbon?
William Larue Weller is the original maker of Weller bourbons. After his death, Julian Van Winkle bought the company and merged it with the Stitzel company. The Stitzel-Weller was sold to different companies until Sazerac bought it in 1999.
All of the bourbon’s production took place in the Buffalo Trace Distillery, owned by Sazerac. Buffalo Trace is the oldest continuous whiskey-making facility in the United States that also produces other whiskey products such as Eagle Rare and George T. Stagg .
Why Bartenders Think This Bourbon Is Special
Bartenders think W.L. Weller is special because it has a soft and smooth finish that goes well with anything. Bourbons generally have a sweeter taste than other types of whiskey, but wheated bourbons amplify this sweetness and add a fruity flavor to the liquor.
The rush of soft caramel and sweet vanilla made a perfect recipe for any cocktail, especially the Black Manhattan and Old-Fashioned. W.L. Weller is also the cheaper and more available alternative to the notable Pappy bourbons.
What Makes William Larue Weller Extra-Special
The William Larue Weller is more special than the other members of the W.L. Weller line because it is the only expression that uses the creator’s full name. It is unfiltered, uncut, and hand-bottled at barrel-proof.
These terms greatly impact the final flavor profile of the liquor. Most whiskey products use chill-filtering to reduce the alcohol content before transferring them into the bottles. The process will remove some of the particles that give rich and flavorful characteristics to the spirit.
The term uncut works almost the same way. It dilutes the spirit to reach a lower alcohol content, most commonly 45% ABV.
What Is W.L. Weller Craft Your Perfect Bourbon (C.Y.P.B.)?
The C.Y.P.B. results from Buffalo Trace’s crowdsourcing of more than 100,000 whiskey enthusiasts. It is a limited-edition release, bottled at 95 proof and barrel-aged for eight years.
The website is accessible for any Weller fans who want to take a chance on crafting their bourbon, and it has a simple layout. You get to choose your bourbon recipe with an unspecified grain percentage. You also decide on the liquor’s age, oak, and bottling proof.
Buffalo Trace released the first batch of C.Y.P.B. in 2018 for around $50.
Is Pappy Van Winkle Weller’s First Hire?
Yes, Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle Sr. is W.L. Weller’s first hire as a whiskey salesman in 1893. He chose to be a traveling salesman at 18 despite being born into a family of educators and lawyers .
Pappy was doing good at his job for many years, and in 1908, he and Alex Farnsley purchased the W.L. Weller & Sons company. Eventually, he merged with Arthur Stitzel and opened the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in 1935.
This new company quickly gained popularity for its wheated bourbon products.
W.L. Weller 12 Year & Pappy Van Winkle 12 Year Similarities
As mentioned earlier, W.L. Weller-12-Year and Van Winkle’s 12-Year have similarities aside from their age. Both spirits used the same mashbill of corn, red winter wheat, and malted barley. Although slightly different in the aging and production process, both bourbons have almost the same flavor profile.
The Buffalo Trace Distillery produces both brands, but W.L. Weller is easier to find, available at a lower price of around $25. On the other hand, the Van Winkle aged their barrels on the lower floor with a constant cool temperature. This process made the production of this liquor longer, which made the prices more expensive than the other brands.
Which Weller bourbon is the hardest to find?
The Weller 12-year and Antique 107 are the hardest to find among other varieties of the company. Some retailers sold these wheated bourbon bottles with a $200 or more tag price.
What bourbon brand tastes most likely like Weller?
Products from Maker’s Mark almost taste like Weller because both are wheated whiskey brands and are using almost the same mash bill percentage. Maker’s Mark products have lower prices compared to Wellers.
Many bartenders and critics agree that the W.L. Weller brand has excellent quality and flavor notes. Due to their limited production and increased demand, finding these whiskey bottles every day is almost impossible.
Most of the time, the products are only available in the secondary market. But the prices are sometimes sky-high and unreasonable.
The best option to acquire a bottle of this whiskey is to befriend a local liquor store owner. They can keep you updated regarding the next batch of releases.
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds!