Liquor Laboratory

Eagle Rare vs Weller Bourbon: What’s the Difference? (2024)

Eagle Rare vs Weller

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 Eagle Rare vs Weller 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.

Frequently Asked Questions (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.

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. 

What does Eagle Rare compare to?

Eagle Rare is often compared to other high-quality bourbons, such as Buffalo Trace and Blanton’s, due to its exceptional smoothness, rich flavor profile, and unique ten-year aging process; its well-balanced taste and complexity make it a favorite among whiskey enthusiasts seeking a premium sipping experience.

What is so special about Eagle Rare?

Eagle Rare’s uniqueness lies in its meticulous crafting, including a ten-year aging process, resulting in a bourbon known for its exceptional smoothness and complexity. Its flavor profile, featuring notes of caramel, vanilla, and toffee, sets it apart, making Eagle Rare a sought-after and revered expression in the world of bourbon.

Which Weller is the hardest to get?

Among the Weller bourbons, Weller 12 Year is often considered the hardest to obtain due to its limited production and high demand. With its extended aging, this expression is highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts, making it a challenging bottle to find on the market.

What is the closest bourbon to Weller?

The closest bourbon to Weller, in terms of mash bill and production, is often considered to be the Van Winkle Special Reserve, also produced by the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Both Weller and Van Winkle bourbons share the same wheated mash bill, known for its use of wheat instead of rye as a secondary grain, resulting in a softer and sweeter profile.
However, it’s important to note that while there are similarities, each bourbon has its own aging process and unique characteristics, contributing to their distinct flavors and appeal.

Why is Eagle Rare hard to get?

Eagle Rare’s scarcity can be attributed to a combination of factors that contribute to its high demand and limited availability. The bourbon undergoes a meticulous ten-year aging process, resulting in restricted production quantities.
Furthermore, its reputation for exceptional quality, smoothness, and a well-balanced flavor profile has made it highly sought after by enthusiasts, creating a demand that often outpaces the supply.

Is Eagle Rare still hard to find?

As of recent times, Eagle Rare continues to be challenging to find in certain regions and markets. Its popularity and limited production quantities contribute to its status as a coveted and sometimes elusive bourbon.
Enthusiasts may face difficulties locating Eagle Rare on store shelves, enhancing its allure and making it a sought-after bottle for collectors and whiskey aficionados.

What type of bourbon is Eagle Rare?

Eagle Rare is a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. It is produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, adhering to the stringent requirements for the designation of straight bourbon.
The bourbon’s mash bill includes a combination of corn, rye, and barley, contributing to its distinctive flavor profile.
Its classification as a straight bourbon reflects a minimum aging period of four years in new charred oak barrels, and Eagle Rare surpasses this requirement with a ten-year aging process, adding depth and complexity to the final product.

Is Eagle Rare good bourbon?

Eagle Rare is widely regarded as an excellent bourbon, known for its exceptional quality and flavor characteristics. The bourbon’s reputation is built on its well-balanced and complex flavor profile, featuring notes of caramel, vanilla, and toffee.
The ten-year aging process contributes to its smoothness, making it a premium choice for sipping.
Whiskey enthusiasts and critics consistently praise Eagle Rare for its craftsmanship and the overall satisfying experience it offers, cementing its status as a good and sought-after bourbon in the market.

How Does Eagle Rare Compare to Weller in Terms of Mash Bill and Aging?

Eagle Rare typically has a higher rye content in its mash bill compared to Weller, resulting in a spicier and more robust flavor profile. Additionally, Weller bourbons are known for their wheated mash bill, which contributes to a smoother and softer taste.

Which Bourbon Offers a More Intense Flavor Profile: Eagle Rare or Weller?

Eagle Rare tends to offer a more intense flavor profile characterized by bold spice, caramel, and oak notes, while Weller is known for its smoother and sweeter taste with hints of vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch.

Can You Describe the Flavor Profiles of Eagle Rare and Weller in More Detail?

Eagle Rare typically offers bold flavors of rye spice, caramel, dark fruit, and oak, with a lingering finish. Weller, on the other hand, features a smoother palate with notes of vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, and a touch of baking spices.

Which Bourbon Is Recommended for Sipping Neat or Enjoying in Cocktails: Eagle Rare or Weller?

Both Eagle Rare and Weller are excellent choices for sipping neat due to their distinct flavor profiles and high quality. However, Weller’s smoother and sweeter taste makes it equally suitable for enjoying in classic bourbon cocktails.

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. 


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