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Eagle Rare vs Weller Bourbon: What’s the Difference? (2023)

Last Updated on January 15, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Eagle Rare and Weller are two Buffalo Trace juices known for being smooth and well-priced, although accessibility is sometimes an issue with these expressions. 

Being in a similar distillery, many of you may wonder if these 90-proofers are different or the same. 

Let us all find out in the controversial bourbon showdown between Eagle Rare vs Weller. Read on.

Comparing Weller Special Reserve & Eagle Rare Bourbon 

Eagle Rare and Weller Bottles and Glasses on a Table

Weller Special Reserve and Eagle Rare are Kentucky straight bourbons. However, Weller Special Reserve is a wheated bourbon, while Eagle Rare is a low-rye bourbon whiskey. 

They share similar alcohol proof, but since they do not share similar mash bills, you can expect that these two bourbons have different tasting notes. 

“Weller was the go-to bourbon for people …It was an incredible bourbon, and it was loved in the bourbon community before Pappy was ‘Pappy.’”

– Fred Minnick, Author

Weller is sweeter and smoother, while Eagle Rare is tastier and more complex. Eagle Rare is aged longer and is cheaper than Weller Special Reserve.   

Weller Special Reserve

Bottle of Weller Special Reserve
Alcohol Proof90 
Age StatementNAS
PalateDelicate, smooth, with rich notes of caramel, chocolate, baking spice, vanilla, honey, and butterscotch
ColorBurnt orange color
NoseSweet, caramel, apple, leather, maple, and oak 
FinishSmooth with honeysuckle, cinnamon, and oak
How It’s ServedNeat, a splash of water, and on the rocks

Weller Special Reserve is a wheated bourbon, and instead of rye on its mash bill, the distillery replaced the secondary grain with wheat [1]. 

After fermentation, Weller Special Reserve undergoes distillation and aging in new charred oak barrels for around seven to eight years. 

As we open the bottle of Weller Special Reserve, we are greeted with vanilla, honey, sweet, and corn aroma that is pleasing to the nose.

It has a beautiful orange appearance, thanks to its aging in newly charred oak barrels, and after the first sip, Weller Special Reserve has nice, approachable, and sweet-tasting notes. 

It has a little kick but is pleasant and warm (like a Kentucky warm hug).

We like to drink it neat because it doesn’t have much burn, and with a splash of water, it becomes more oaky and sweet. 

Fun Facts 

glass of whiskey
  • It shares a similar recipe as Pappy Van bourbons, so if you can’t get hold of a bottle of Pappy, try Weller instead. 
  • Weller Special Reserve has won multiple gold awards in various spirits competitions like Gold New York World Wine & Spirits Competition, Gold TAG Global Spirits Awards, and Gold International Spirits Challenge. 
  • Stitzel-Weller Distilling Company first distilled the Weller lineup before Sazerac Company acquired it in 1999. 

Eagle Rare 10-Year Straight Bourbon 

Close Up SHot of Eagle Rare 10 year Bottle
Alcohol Proof90 
Age Statement10 years
PalateBold and rich, with notes of oak, caramel, baking spice, and vanilla
ColorMedium rusty orange
NoseComplex aroma of toffee, orange, herbs, leather, oak, and honey
FinishLong, dry, with subtle notes of oak, 
How It’s ServedNeat and on the rocks

Eagle Rare is a ten-year-old bourbon whiskey made from low rye mash bill. It was previously labeled as a single barrel, but the distillery decided to mechanize the bottling process. 

The proprietary mash bill no. 1 of Buffalo Trace is fermented, distilled, and aged in newly charred oak barrels for not less than ten years to develop its bold character and profile. 

It is bottled at 90 proof and widely enjoyed because of its bold, rich, and tasty flavor. 

You’ll be kicked off on the nose with the toasted oak, orange peel, and maple syrup. 

On our first sip, the oak is strong, but the vanilla, dried fruit, and caramel slowly show up to bring balance. 

The finish is notable, as it has a nice bit more oak, subtle notes of tobacco, and old leather.

On the rocks, the caramel tunes down the finish, but it remains oaky till the end. 

Fun Facts 

Whiskey Glass on a Wooden Table
  • Eagle Rare was previously a 101-proof liquor and was lowered to 90-proof in 2005.
  • Four Roses initially introduced Eagle Rare under Seagrams in 1975. 
  • Sazerac purchased Eagle Rare in 1989. 
  • It contains less than 10% rye on its mash bill. 

Eagle Rare vs Weller Special Reserve: Price Comparison 

Weller Special ReserveEagle Rare
Average PriceRoughly $64.99Roughly $50

*Average prices are based on Drizly. Prices may vary in local liquor shops.

FAQs 

Is Eagle Rare more complex than Weller Special Reserve?

Yes, Eagle Rare is more complex than Weller Special Reserve. Aside from its mash bill, Eagle Rare is aged longer, which has developed a more complex flavor profile [2].

Are Weller and Eagle Rare bourbons top-shelf?

No, Weller and Eagle Rare are mid-shelf bourbons. They have great tasting notes, can be everyday bourbons, and are well-priced. 

Which is harder to find, Eagle Rare or Weller?

Eagle Rare is harder to find than the Weller Special Reserve. It can be upsetting, but in some places, Eagle Rare is allocated. 

Wrapping Up 

Eagle Rare and Weller Special Reserve from Buffalo Trace are great bourbons, but Eagle Rare gets the upper hand from nose to finish. 

Weller is sweet and smooth, while Eagle Rare is more complex and tastier.

Eagle Rare has more body, satisfying plus it is cheaper. It can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails. 

References:

  1. https://www.pastemagazine.com/drink/whiskey/buffalo-trace-bourbon-rye-buying-guide-prices-brands-value/#eagle-rare 
  2. https://www.thespruceeats.com/effect-of-aging-on-liquor-759921 

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