Weller Single Barrel
In May of 2019, Buffalo Trace Distillery announced an extension in the lineup of their wheated bourbons. Coming to us as an annual release, and sporting 97 proof points on the label, this will be unique to the Weller portfolio both in terms of profile as well as ABV. What I’m curious about is the release numbers (which Buffalo Trace eluded to only by telling us the offering will be limited in the May 2019 Press Release). For now we’ll just have to crack this bottle open and give it a whirl. Let’s get in!
Alright, let me begin with saying that I think it’s very wise of Buffalo Trace Distillery to release more products in the [already limited] Weller lineup; however, I’m curious as all hell as to how such an allocated product like their wheated recipe is going to supply the already stratospheric demand, let alone adding a brand extension. I recognize the gap they filled here (in reference to ABV) by proofing new Weller Single Barrel at 97, but I suppose the pricing of the Weller products will forever be a mystery to me. A $50 SRP is something I’m excited about, though, so what the hell? In reading the Buffalo Trace Distillery’s website, I found the following:
William Larue Weller, born in 1825, spent most of his life educating the public on his first-of-its-kind bourbon recipe using wheat in the mash bill. Weller’s gentle, mild and smooth sipping experience changed whiskey as we know it. Handpicked and bottled one exceptional barrel at a time, this special release is bourbon to be savored. Delivering nuanced variations from the ageing process. For the refined bourbon palate, no two barrels are quite the same. Expect distinct, full-bodied flavor in the celebrated tradition of Weller’s wheated bourbon.
A point that immediately stood out to me–at the time of the press release–was the fact that many current store picks are bottled as either Weller Full Proof, or Weller Antique. I’m unsure how offering a standard single barrel expression fits into the equation…if indeed it does at all.
Well, those are my musings on the topic. I suppose for now all there is left to do is pour and sip. Let’s get to it!
Nose – Desserty and rich. I’m not getting any ethanol here, just rich and sweet character. As with many Weller products, I’m getting a lot of sweet cherry and some apple pie. Caramel, brown sugar, syrup, and all types of dessert.
Taste – Sweet and luscious. A background of cocoa that adds a darker layer, but this is all dessert (in a good way). Glazed baked goods, Royal icing, and fruit filling. Putting me in the glass case at the bakery looking at cherry and apple danishes.
Finish – The finish is medium in length, but it’s got everything going for it. Plenty of apple and cherry mixing in with sweet vanilla. If this carried a little more oak or some spice to round it out it would be a titan.
Bourbon Finder Grade: A-
Like it or not–find it at your local liquor store or not–this is damn fine bourbon. I think Buffalo Trace Distillery holds a very unique segment of the whiskey market, in that it’s simultaneously receiving what is arguably the most praise across it’s various products–as well as the most backlash and public outcry from consumers. I tend to avoid areas of this hobby where derisive comments and derogatory terms are used, but I find the amount of times a Buffalo Trace product is within those circles to be rather high.
Rather than join the infamous crotch-shot posting, or public bashing, or [unopened] bottle “flex” photo posting–I would rather host my own battles–so I did a comparison between Weller Antique and Weller Single Barrel. Check it out my comparison between a single barrel (store pick) of OWA and the new SiB to find out where I’m at with these offerings. No name calling needed!
Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we’re excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is, so our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible–as such–we decided that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us (and didn’t accurately showcase variability in taste from day to day). We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because we feel it is indicative of the whiskey’s grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a “B” today may very well be a “B+” or even a “B-” on another day, so rather than focusing on a precise score today that may not stand the test of time, we are just sharing our overall grade of that pour for that one tasting. Pour a bit and enjoy, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!