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Every Single Bottle Of Weller Wheated Bourbon Whiskey, Tasted And Ranked

W.L. Weller Wheated Bourbon Whiskey has become one of the most sought-after whiskeys in the world. There are a few reasons for that that I’ll get to, but for now, I figured it was time to rank all seven bottles from the brand’s stable to give you an idea of which bottle you should be chasing after for your own collection.

W.L. Weller is made by Sazerac at the famed Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. The juice is made from their wheated bourbon mash bill — that’s a recipe that includes corn as a primary ingredient supported by red winter wheat and malted barley grains. The hot distillate then goes into a new charred oak barrel for a rest (how long depends on which expression from the brand we’re talking about). This whole process is the same as Sazerac’s other juggernaut whiskeys from the Pappy Van Winkle brand. We’re talking about the same exact mash bill and aging process for the two whiskeys, hence Weller’s rise to stardom as a Pappy adjacent whiskey.

Let’s be clear though, Weller has a unique flavor profile. So, yes, the barrels might hold the same juice, but whether they become a Pappy or Weller depends on how the profile of those barrels evolved while maturing. Weller is Weller and Pappy is Pappy — one isn’t a knockoff of the other.

The other big reason this whiskey exploded in popularity is that the juice in those bottles is actually pretty freakin’ tasty and was affordable. W.L. Weller has seven expressions and the price range for those should be $29 to $99, according to their MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) in 2022. But because of that Pappy parallel and the quality of the product, that price now ranges from $130 to well over $2,000 per bottle depending on the expression and how many bottles make it into the wild.

That inflated retail price does create a barrier to entry. That’s why I’m here. I’m lucky enough to get to sample these bottles yearly and report back. So, below, I’ll be giving you my professional opinion and tasting notes on each bottle and ranking them according to which ones I think you should be chasing down. Ready? Let’s go!

Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Bourbon Posts Of The Last Six Months

7. Weller Antique 107

Sazerac Company

ABV: 53.5%

Average Price: $150 ($50 MSRP)

The Whiskey:

Before Weller blew up, this was part of the three core whiskeys they released along with Special Reserve and the 12 Year. This is a non-age-statement bourbon but it’s called “Old Weller Antique” (OWA) by those in the know. The ripple with this expression is the higher proof. The barrels are vatted and barely proofed down to 107 proof before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a sense of vanilla blossoms on the nose with a hint of old wood and maybe a hint of wet leather that leads back to cinnamon-spiced caramel and the slightest hint of black licorice. The palate leans into silky vanilla with a cream soda vibe next to sweet stewed apples with woody cinnamon sticks, cloves, and nutmeg followed by black cherry and a hint of sweet cedar. The end layers the cinnamon, cherry, vanilla, and cedar into a rich and chewy tobacco leaf with a hint of dryness on the very back end.

Bottom Line:

This is a great place to start and not so much “last” as “we need to start somewhere.” The only reason I rank this lower is it goes from a vanilla bomb to a cinnamon bomb with a lot of cherries. It’s not as nuanced as some of the other expressions we have coming up. Moreover, I’d argue this really feels like a great cocktail bourbon with which to build a beautiful Manhattan, Sazerac, or boulevardier more than a day-to-day sipper. And if you look at this like a standard $50 bottle, that makes a lot of sense.

6. Weller Special Reserve

Sazerac Company

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $130 ($29 MSRP)

The Whiskey:

The age of the barrels on this blend is also unknown. Overall, we know this is a classic wheated bourbon that’s blended, proofed, and bottled as a just-north-of-budget whiskey.

Tasting Notes:

Tannic old oak really pops on the nose with sweet cherries, soft vanilla, and a hint of wet leather. The palate is creamy with plenty of stewed apples and winter spices next to a hint of raisin and nut (kind of like a nut cluster with caramel and a touch of ginger snap). The finish arrives with a dark cherry sweetness that’s almost candy, as brown sugar counters a hint of sharp winter spice with a twinge of pipe tobacco next to a final note of old leather and dry wicker.

Bottom Line:

Again, look at this like a $30 bourbon. From that lens, this is a solid workhorse whiskey that works as well as a cocktail base as it does in a highball with good and fizzy mineral water as it does on the rocks. It’s also a decent shooter with a beer back. The point is, for a $30 bourbon, this rocks (shame you can rarely get it at the price).

5. Weller Single Barrel

Sazerac Company

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $1,026 ($50 MSRP)

The Whiskey:

Weller Single Barrel gets a lot of hype because people tend to think of it as an alt Pappy Single Barrel. It’s not. Again, Weller and Pappy are two different beasts. That aside, the juice in play here is pulled from single barrels that hit a perfect Weller profile. That whiskey is then proofed down to 86 proof for this as-is yearly drop.

Tasting Notes:

A bowl of fresh sour cherries just hit with salt and fresh mint mingles with a lush vanilla foundation and a hint of cedar and maybe some winter spice on the nose. The palate amps up those winter spices with a good hit of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove with a creamy eggnog mouthfeel before a hint of barely bitter dark-chocolate-covered espresso beans link to a whisper of white pepper. The end layers the nutmeg and creamy eggnog into a chewy tobacco leaf and then folds that into a dry pine box.

Bottom Line:

This is where we start to get some serious nuance beyond the cherry/vanilla/cinnamon matrix of the last two. There are more sweet and soft tannic notes at play that play nicely with bright and fresh fruit and herbs and a hint of bitterness. Overall, we’re in solid sipper territory with this one, especially on a single rock which opens a creaminess to the chocolate and nutmeg with a hint of marzipan sneaking in.

4. Weller C.Y.P.B.

Sazerac Company

ABV: 47.5%

Average Price: $890 ($50 MSRP)

The Whiskey:

A few years back, Buffalo Trace asked hardcore Weller fans to “Craft Your Perfect Bourbon.” C.Y.P.B. was born when fans chose their favorite bourbon recipe, proof, warehouse location, and age on the Buffalo Trace website. A consensus shook out with wheated bourbon aged on the highest warehouse floors for eight years that’s then bottled at 95 proof. From that, a new whiskey was born and is now released yearly.

Tasting Notes:

Expect a nose full of dried orange peels and dry tobacco leaves braided with dry cedar bark next to a creamy vanilla sauce just touched with poppy seeds and a faint hint of real and spicy root beer laced with dark cherries. The palate has a mild spicy warmth that leads to a salted caramel sweetness with an echo of tart apple skins before the dark cherry kicks in with a mix of winter spices and lush marzipan covered in creamy dark chocolate. The end leans into a lightly spiced (think cinnamon, allspice, and maybe some licorice) chewing tobacco with a layer of dark cacao or almond adding a dryness to the finish.

Bottom Line:

This is just an excellent pour of whiskey. The yearly releases do have some nuance year to year, but you can also trust that they’ll be stellar overall. The hardest part of this is that this is so hard to come by. You really have to keep your ear to the ground to know when these drop (May) and where they end up.

3. Weller Full Proof

Sazerac Company

ABV: 57%

Average Price: $350 ($50 MSRP)

The Whiskey:

This expression is a marriage of some serious barrels of unknown age. That vatted juice goes into the bottle at “full proof” which is not necessarily “barrel proof.” The “full proof” this refers to is the proof of the hot juice when it goes into the barrel for aging. That whiskey will come out of the barrel somewhere around 57% but not right at it. So there may be a little proofing water involved, hence it is always 114 proof and not 114.7 one year and 113.1 the next year or 115.9 the year after that.

Tasting Notes:

Ripe and sour cherries lead the way with a thick vanilla underbelly, a hint of salted caramel, and woody cinnamon next to whole nutmeg bulbs on the nose with this slight echo of almost singed cherry bark. The palate leans into the sharpness of the cinnamon and the lushness of the vanilla as a foundation as layers of buttery caramel cake frosting with a hint of sassafras and licorice next to dry cedar bark braids with a thin line of sweet grass and a whisper of sourdough fritters. The end leans into creamy brandy butter cut with dark-chocolate-covered dried sour cherries sprinkled with salt and rolled in fresh tobacco leaves and stacked next to orange-laced marzipan in an old and slightly sweet cedar box.

Bottom Line:

This is another winner. It’s just so nuanced and deep while feeling familiar and almost comforting. Make sure to add a little water or a single rock to really let the lush creaminess of the vanilla and dark chocolate shine through with an added hint of burnt orange on that rich marzipan.

2. Weller 12 Year

Sazerac Company

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $299 ($40 MSRP)

The Whiskey:

This is the main age-statement whiskey from Weller. The barrels spend at least 12 years mellowing (some say the barrels can reach into the 20-year range) before they’re vatted, proofed down, and bottled as-is.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with soft orchard fruits — think old peaches and bruised pears — that lead to a spun wool, vanilla-heavy pancake batter, and really good marzipan with an echo of rose water and orange oils next to soft and worn wicker canes wrapped in old leather sheets. The taste is a perfect balance of cherry wood, dried cranberry, buttery Southern biscuits, salted toffee candy, and Christmas spices (clove and nutmeg heavy). The end lets those sharp spices shine but isn’t hot by any stretch alongside moist angel food cake, apple-cider-soaked cinnamon sticks, and orange-infused marzipan with a hint of dark chocolate coating and a mild sense of old (damn near musty) cherry tobacco leaves.

Bottom Line:

This at $40 MSRP is wild. It’s crazy good, which makes it easy to see how it blew up in price. That all aside, this is solid whiskey at an extremely approachable ABV. It’s just an easy AF sipper without water or ice. Adding some, and you’ll get this silky and luxurious pour of Weller that’s damn near second to none, which leads us to…

1. William Larue Weller (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2021)

Sazerac Company

ABV: 67.25%

Average Price: $2,692 ($99 MSRP)

The Whiskey:

Distilled back in the fall of 2009, this barrel-strength bourbon skips the Minnesota rye and instead uses North Dakota wheat with NoDak barley and Kentucky corn. The juice spent 12-and-a-half years mellowing in warehouses C, D, K, L, and Q on floors one through three. While maturing, 64% of the whiskey was lost to the angels before it was small-batched and bottled as-is at barrel strength.

Tasting Notes:

This opens with a deep sense of vanilla down to the roots with rich and buttery salted caramel drizzled over freshly fried sourdough doughnuts dusted with raw sugar, cinnamon, and a little allspice. The palate leans into the sharpness of the cinnamon to point of teetering near a Red Hot before a soft apricot jam arrives with fresh butter and soft cardamon with a cherry tobacco vibe underneath it all. The end amps the spice up to a dark red chili pepper-infused dark and bitter chocolate flaked with Alder smoked salt and wrapped up in dark cherry tobacco leaves and braided with dry wicker, sweetgrass, and cedar bark threads with this fleeting hint of mint lurking somewhere in the background with some real black licorice.

Bottom Line:

This is a masterpiece. I don’t know what else to say. I guess, if you do come across a pour at your favorite whiskey bar, try it there first before committing a mortgage payment to a bottle. Otherwise, this does not disappoint, ever.

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