W. L. Weller 7 year old Special Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey

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 Reserve12 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.

W. L. Weller 7 year old Special Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey

45% ABV

Score:  81


7 thoughts on “W. L. Weller 7 year old Special Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey

  1. Interesting whiskey. I will have to give it a try. I am really really new to bourbons so I appreciate your reviews! Did you pick this one up locally?

    1. I actually tried this one at the Broken Record, but I know it’s around, K&L has it for $17, D&M as well.

  2. Speaking of wheated whiskey… have you tried the “Small Batch BERNHEIM ORIGINAL Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey”. 90 proof. I’m not a huge fan of anything wheat, but I hadn’t had it before so I bought a bottle. I think it was just under $25. It’s not my favorite bourbon, but certainly not the worst I’ve had. Probably wouldn’t buy it again, but glad I tried it.

    1. I have, in fact…jotted some notes down on it here: https://thecasks.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/bernheim-original-kentucky-wheated-whiskey-review/

      I agree with you, I thought it was good, but not great. I was a little disappointed. For my money, the Van Winkle people are wheat wizards at the moment, their 12 year Reserve is a wheated bourbon and, I think, fantastic: https://thecasks.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/van-winkle-12-year-old-reserve-kentucky-straight-bourbon-review/

      Thanks for writing, Harold!

  3. P.S. I guess I shouldn’t have called it a bourbon, even though it tastes like one. As noted previously it’s “Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey”. Sorry about that.

  4. Big time bargain. I find this to be a full-bodied bourbon that tops Makers. The price is a third less. Weller makes a great everyday sipper. Solid!

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