Being a big fan of wheated whiskies, it’s probably only a matter of time before I taste my way through all that I can find. William Larue Weller (“Bill” to his golfing buddies and accountant) was the first distiller to create a straight wheated bourbon, replacing the rye in his mash with wheat. He did this at the ripe old age of 24 which makes me think I should really get off my ass and accomplish something of significant merit because I’m not getting any younger.
The W.L. Weller line is owned, distilled, bottled, scattered around, etc. by Buffalo Trace and currently has the 7 Year Old Special Reserve, 12 year Old, and Antique expressions available. A “Centennial” and barrel proof 12 year old may still be out there, but they’re not currently in production.
The Nose: The nice, warming nose has the requisite caramel/vanilla/orange notes of American corn whisky but there’s also a nice whiff of Swiss Miss hot cocoa w/marshmallows. It also has some soft, wheat grain alongside the sweet corn sour mash notes to make it very pleasant.
The Palate: An appetizing smooth entry with brown sugar and vanillin is carried forward with the wheated smoothness but then falls a little short. The wheat cracker taste is there, but not all that prominent. A cinnamon and clove heat grows a bit but becomes a little solvent-y and harsh towards the end.
The Finish: Shortish and a little spicy, unfortunately, that harshness lingers a bit as well.
Thoughts: This one’s a pretty decent bourbon, not great, though. A nice nose and palate is offset by the harshness at the end which seems like something one would find in a much younger whiskey not in something 7 years old. I’ve seen this around for $17-$20, which makes it a pretty good value and an easy way to try a wheated bourbon.