William Larue Weller is the only wheated bourbon in the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. In essence, this is a barrel proof W. L. Weller 12 year old, which is not a bad thing. I’m sure this release gets choice barrels from the W. L. Weller line of whiskies. A wheated bourbon means wheat is used as the flavoring grain instead of the more common rye. Maker’s Mark and the Van Winkle bourbons are all wheated bourbons. Mr. Weller is credited with being the first distiller to use wheat instead of rye for bourbon back in the mid-1850s.
This year’s release of William Larue Weller is a hellish 140.2 proof. That’s the highest proof this bourbon’s ever been. It’s even higher than this year’s George T. Stagg… if only by a couple of proof points. Buffalo Trace Distillery provided a review sample.
When I take a nice big whiff of this bourbon, I get lots of alcohol and caramel. When I take a smaller whiffs, I get LOTS of caramel and toffee, as well as a little oak. Tasting it there’s a lot of sweet caramel, baking spices like cinnamon and cloves, and toffee. The finish is sweet and dry. While the high proof does come into play in terms of spice and heat, I find it slightly more palatable to drink neat when compared to George T. Stagg. Adding water to this calms down the heat and really brings out the sweetness.
Make no mistake, this is one delicious bourbon. Being a member of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection means it’ll be very hard to find in stores. If the planets align and you run across a bottle, pick it up for the $80 suggested retail price.