Diageo is packing a one-two punch in the American Whiskey world. Recently, the I.W. Harper brand was reintroduced to the United States after a 20 year absence. Now, their newest brand, Blade and Bow, is their homage to the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. Blade and Bow is entering the market in two forms: a 22-year old, one-time release and a no age statement general release. Today, we’re looking at the general release.
W. L. Weller 12 Year old bourbon is one of my favorites. It’s a wheated bourbon, like the impossible-to-find Pappy Van Winkle line. This one, however, is pretty readily available…at least in the New Orleans market (I hear it’s hard to find in areas of the country). Buffalo Trace distills both. In fact, they use the same recipe, or mash bill. Well, if they’re made by the same distillery using the same recipe, are they the same bourbon? No, they’re not. From what I gather, the Van Winkles have first dibs at barrels of wheated bourbons. They take what they consider the best, and the rest goes to the Weller line.
Part of enjoying whiskey is smelling it. If you’re not doing that, you’re really doing yourself a disservice. This one has a STRONG sweet caramel smell. I could smell this all day. How’s it taste? Definitely on the sweeter side. Honey and caramel are pretty strong. The finish doesn’t last too long. It mainly stays on your tongue for a few seconds. This doesn’t taste like a 90 proof bourbon.
W.L. Weller has a few products out. Their Special Reserve, which is a little cheaper and another great bourbon, and their Old Antique 107 proof. I’ve yet to run across a bottle of Old Antique Weller in New Orleans. Of the two I’ve tasted, I easily prefer the 12 year. It runs close to $25, but I’ve seen it more expensive – as high as $40. People refer to it as the poor man’s Pappy. They might be similar enough to say that, but these are still two different bourbons. Pappy Van Winkle’s bourbons are at the top of the heap. If W. L. Weller is the leftover stuff, that’s nothing to balk at. This is one delicious bourbon. Have you tried Weller 12 year? Comment below and let me know what you think.
Highly recommended 9/10